Fact: well-strained gallons of Chobani are one of the few things I can eat the with same earnest and passion as The Doughnut Project’s beet-glazed, ricotta-filled doughnuts without the cardiac arrest or bankruptcy.
Chobani of all varieties and concoctions is my go-to pick-me-up for any occasion — whether it be procrastinating on that paper for the fifth day in a row, admitting that I’m incapable of waking up and making myself breakfast and reaching instead for stacked Chobani cups, or trying to get my “daily serving of fruit” (pomegranate-on-the-bottom, #FTW).
There is something inexplicably comforting about cutting a spoon through that pristinely tangy, creamy custard that makes Chobani so much more than just yogurt. It is an experience, and it’s precisely this experience that, as VP of communications (CEO Hamdi Ulukaya’s righthand man) Michael Gonda says, is the very essence of the brand. Here are some things we learned sitting down with Michael over Chobani Soho’s many delightful medleys.
1. It all started in 2007
That’s the year Chobani’s very first cup of yogurt was sipped.
2. CEO Hamdi Ulukaya: Chobani Mastermind
Originally from a Turkish dairy farming family, Hamdi was surprised at the lamentable dearth of accessible, delicious, and authentic Greek yogurt in the States — and boom, the idea for Chobani was born. Thank Zeus.
Hamdi’s brand philosophy stands for “Delicious, Nutritious, Natural, Accessible.”
4. The “A” in “DNNA”
It’s no accident that Chobani is the #1 yogurt brand in the country: accessibility is imperative to Hamdi. Quality and affordability are as important to Chobani as they are to its loyal customers.
5. Nothing but natural
Chobani is committed to using 40% less sugar than other brands in their yogurt and only natural ingredients, nothing even hinting at “GMO,” “artificial,” or inauthentic.
6. Community-driven, people-focused
10% of all Chobani profits goes to community charities. Hamdi deeply believes in measuring Chobani’s success through its impact on the community.
7. A millennial movement
Chobani sees itself as a millennial brand, embodying the millennial eating mindset: people want to know what’s in their food, who’s making their food, and the impact that their food is having on the world around them — even better if it’s unfairly delicious.
8. Sustainability is key
Chobani works with suppliers all over the US to source the freshest ingredients possible. Sticking to a strict food philosophy has actually increased availability of products on market, not just for Chobani, but for sister companies as well.
9. Only the good stuff
Chobani is the antithesis of “big food,” with an emphasis on mindfulness: it’s loved precisely because it listens to what its customers like, and demands a symbiosis between brand and people.
10. 10 out of 10, would eat
The pistachio + chocolate café creation (center above, featuring earthy pistachios, strong dark chocolate, fresh mint and orange, and honey) probably has the potential to exact world peace. Really.
Special thanks to Michael Gonda, Chobani Vice President of Communications, for speaking with us.