Yogurt maker Chobani is to set up a US$21 million research center in Idaho with the new facility due to be operational by next summer. Chobani, now the second largest yogurt maker in the US, was founded in 2005 when Hamdi Ulukaya bought a plant in the town of South Edmeston, New York, that was being closed by Kraft Foods.
Ulukaya hired several of the former Kraft employees as well as a "yogurt master" and launched his brand in 2007.
Chobani is headquartered in New Berlin, New York, about 100 miles west of Albany.
However, the new facility, a 70,000-square-foot expansion, will be in Twin Falls, Idaho, where the company has invested $850 million over the past five years. The area is considered to be the “silicon valley of food.”
The expansion further solidifies Chobani’s presence in Twin Falls which Ulukaya described as “the Silicon Valley of food innovation” during a recent ceremony at the site.
“I’m grateful for the specialness we share with the people of the Magic Valley,” said Hamdi Ulukaya, founder and chief executive officer of Chobani.
“Twin Falls is one of those special places where there’s a strong entrepreneurial mindset, the people are incredible, and a handshake truly means something. It’s a special ecosystem when it comes to food making.”
“Our home in Idaho is not only a celebration of our employees and our community but is also a space to inspire creativity, drive even more innovation and take us further on our mission to bring better food to more people.”
The company commissioned the Twin Falls project several years ago with a US$450 million investment to build the one-million-square-foot facility. And last March it announced an expansion at the plant which included converting production lines for Chobani and bulk products as well as equipment for yogurt beverages and dips.