empire building

Chobani Is Getting Ready to Move ‘Beyond’ Yogurt

The new “Greek yogurt”–free labels. Photo: Chobani

After ten years of culturing Greek yogurt, Chobani has apparently started to think bigger. To convey the new ambitions, the company is rolling out redesigned packaging this week that features artisanal-esque curvy font, a matte label, and watercolor fruits — a 180 from the glossy containers it used to sell. The changes are supposed to distinguish the brand from the rest of the field — in Chobani’s words, to “bring the magic back to the yogurt shelf,” where sales have been sliding lately.

But one of the first things that stand out about the new logo is that it’s banished “Greek Yogurt” from labels entirely. Founder Hamdi Ulukaya cryptically calls this a “beautiful translation” of their values about “food as a force for good”:

The AP reports that the contents “will stay the same,” but Chobani suggests the removal is also teasing things to come. “What this new identity enables us to do is start to seed, if you will, us going into other areas beyond yogurt,” chief marketing officer Peter McGuinness says. The company gave no examples of which “other areas” it’s thinking of going into, or when. Keeping up the air of mystery, McGuinness clarifies that the move will help Chobani realize its goal of “becoming a food-focused wellness company.”

Still, enigmatic or not, Chobani’s “next 10 years” — its term for this makeover — are clearly about more than just continuing to control 40 percent of the U.S. yogurt market. Some argue that the million copycats on the Greek-yogurt aisle have “spoiled” the product category in Chobani’s eyes, so the time’s come to branch out. Coincidentally, it just broke ground on a $21 million research center in Twin Falls, Idaho — a small dairy town Ulukaya has started calling the “Silicon Valley of food.”

And the company’s COO, meanwhile, is busy declaring snack foods “bigger than anything else,” disclosing to a trade mag last week that they’re eager to join “the most exciting trend in food.” Some of the “fun” stuff he’s quoted as being into includes products flavored like s’mores and PB&Js as well as “deconstructed candy bars.”

Chobani Is Getting Ready to Move ‘Beyond’ Yogurt