A Love Letter To Chobani Yoghurt

Editor of The Vocal

Approx 4 minute reading time

Chobani, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. cho-ba-nee…

I’ve been seeing a dietician for the last few months mostly to check if diet was a factor with my chronic migraines. It turns out diet wasn’t really the issue (I found another way to fix the migraines). I kept seeing her to help with the mild fatty liver I’d picked up thanks to all the migraine drugs I had been taking. I stopped taking those drugs and my dietician set me on a loose diet plan that could help get my liver back to doing what it does best, which is to….

*Googles: what do livers do?*

…play a central role in metabolic processes in the body! Thanks liver!

One thing that emerged from my sessions was an entirely newfound appreciation for the wondrous joy that is Chobani yoghurt. I already appreciated Chobani in theory since its founder Hamdi Ulukaya made headlines over the last few years for his pledge to help refugees. But now I’m practically in love with their yoghurt and all the forms it exists in.

It all began when my dietitian started recommending the version which comes with less than 0.5% fat and tastes almost indistinguishable from regular Greek yoghurt. If anything it tastes like how Greek yoghurt is supposed to taste when you don’t add a bunch of crap to it. If you need to make the change for health reasons, it’s the one you want. So I was recommended to use this as a substitute and I haven’t looked back since, except to look back in the aisle when buying it.

The love doesn’t end there, folks. Chobani is America’s most popular Greek yoghurt for a reason. After moving to the U.S. in 1994, Ulukaya was dismayed to find the yoghurt wasn’t as natural or as healthy as it was back home. So he created his own recipe and the rest is, as they say, yoghurt history. 

Hamdi Ulukaya is Kurdish and was born in Turkey but migrated to the U.S. in 1994 to study English and business courses. As the refugee crisis escalated not only in Turkey but in surrounding countries, he went straight into action to do his part. The yoghurt kingpin has gone on to embrace hiring refugees in the U.S. and offers them English language classes along with translators in up to 11 languages. He also travelled to Greece and Germany in 2015 to meet with refugees and entrepreneurs to find innovative approaches to dealing with the crisis. He signed the Giving Pledge in 2015 and set up a nonprofit called the Tent Foundation which specifically helps refugees.

As if that wasn’t enough, to show his appreciation for the people who helped him build the yoghurt empire, he also gave employees an ownership stake in the company. Ulukaya told employees that they would receive shares worth up to 10% of the company. This means if the company goes public or is sold, they could make a whole lot of coin. The shares came directly out of Ulukaya’s own holdings since he owns most of the company. The longer a worker has been there, the bigger the stake.

Ulukaya wants employees to share in the value that they’ve helped create, which is said to be in the several billion dollar range

Watch this video and I dare you to not bawl like a tiny yoghurt loving baby.

Chobani yoghurt also comes in these little squeezable packages that babies normally eat. For too long babies have had a monopoly on the squeezable yoghurt industry. Now Chobani is taking it back for all the adults around the world with an aversion to plates and spoons and those who look enviously at the baby’s delicious chicken sweet potato mashed delicacy and think, “wow, babies have it so good, when will my time come?” Your time is now, adult baby.

And yet that’s not even what I’m really here to talk to you about. I’m here to talk to you about the dips. Listen. The dips are where it’s at. My dietitian got me onto these as a way of having healthier snacks throughout the day. Not only are the Meze dips high in protein, but since they’re made using strained yoghurt, they’re also high in calcium and 97% fat free. And they’re delicious. I would argue they’re more delicious than any other dips you could buy at the supermarket. They’re thick and creamy. And the flavours work as dressings for salads or as a sauce with your protein of choice. Take them to work and strategically hide them in the fridge.

Instead of feeling guilty with your food choices, you should feel triumphant and excited, knowing that something is both delicious and good for you, and that you are helping support a company that not only values its employees, but actively goes out of its way to help those desperately in need, particularly at a time when the world has turned its back on the most vulnerable.

The only way Chobani could improve is if it expands its offering to include labneh – a thick Middle Eastern yoghurt cheese which falls somewhere between yogurt and cheese, the great combination of our lifetime.

So, I apologise for the lack of poetry or prose in this love letter, but I straight up believe that Chobani yogs is tops and I will eat it all the time and I can’t wait for them to one day introduce Chobani labneh.

Take some action

Ask Chobani if they'll expand their offering to include yoghurt cheese labneh

  Labneh's time has come