Four years ago, when the Summer Olympics were held in Beijing, traditional yogurt dominated supermarket shelves. Greek yogurt was a niche product, with little awareness among consumers; annual sales totaled a paltry $60 million. Chobani was an obscure company operating out of a dilapidated Kraft factory in the hills of central New York.
Four years later, it’s a dramatically different scene. Greek yogurt is expected to double last year’s sales, to $1.5 billion. Chobani is owned by Agro-Farma, the leading yogurt manufacturer and a Team USA Olympic sponsor. “Despite the fact that Chobani started five years ago with five people, we are now the No. 1 yogurt brand,” says Doron Stern, the company’s vice president of marketing. “There are a lot of parallels between what we’ve been able to do with our company and what the athletes go through to get where they are.”