Among the plethora of yogurt choices — Greek, regular, non-dairy, etc. — Chobani consistently comes out on top. You can use it as a healthy fat substitute, and make deliciously sweet concoctions that won't have you missing frozen yogurt (especially after learning it's not as healthy as it's cracked up to be).
While I could continue my ode to Chobani for an extensive period of time, I'd like to focus on one element of the brand that is not as well publicized: its magnanimity.
Hamdi Ulukaya founded his company with a simple objective: introduce good-tasting, healthy Greek yogurt to the mainstream American market (the first brand of its kind). After buying an old Kraft yogurt factory on a whim in 2005, he spent nearly three years with his small staff renovating the factory, fine-tuning the recipe, and developing a business strategy. Fast forward another three years, and Chobani was the top-selling U.S. brand.
While it started as a mom-and-pop business, Ulukaya never expected it to explode the way that it did, nor had he intended to get private investors involved to take the company down a route where a bigger food company would buy it.
Once any small business is incorporated into a larger, more powerful company, their interests become the same and the integrity of that small business is lost. Ulukaya did not want that to happen to Chobani, so he stuck it to the man and still remains the top decision-maker today, almost 10 years later.
By maintaining that authority, Ulukaya has ensured that every business decision is made with Chobani's original mission in mind: Making good-tasting, healthy Greek yogurt accessible to everyone.
However, the company has also expanded to make good, healthy food in general more accessible—not just their yogurt. Currently, Chobani donates 10 percent of its profits to the Chobani Foundation, which works toward promoting access to good, healthy food for youth and underserved communities. The money is also used to benefit entrepreneurs and small businesses so they, too, have the means to turn their dreams into a reality, as Ulukaya did.
Now, ten percent may not seem like that much. To put it in perspective, in 2013, Chobani recorded a $1 billion revenue, and in 2015, they recorded sales of $1.6 billion. Ten percent of $1 billion is $100 million. All of that is going toward strengthening communities across America.
But Chobani hasn't stopped there. In addition to its outward focus on improving the greater good of society, it has also turned its attention inward toward the people who have helped make Chobani the success it is: the employees.
In April, Ulukaya announced he would personally distribute shares to all of the 2,000 full-time employees worth up to ten percent of the company if it were to go public or be sold. Although he has indicated going public or selling the company is not ideally in the near future, if it were to happen, the employees would be rewarded for their dedication to the company — by becoming instant millionaires
Further, this month Chobani instituted six weeks of paid parental leave for its employees. The benefit is mainly for the factory workers who wouldn't ordinarily qualify for that kind of benefit, although it is available to all Chobani employees. Additionally, it is extended to both men and women, and in the case of adoption, paid leave for everyone.
Thank you, Chobani, for giving us all hope that it is possible to still have heart and soul in a majorly successful company. Keep doing what you're doing.