How Chobani Uses Market Invention To Reign Over the Greek Yogurt Industry
Chobani is the perfect example of how a market inventor can completely takeover a market in a short period of time.
Back in 2005, Chobani opened its first yogurt production plant in New York thanks to the vision of founder and CEO Hamdi Ulukaya, an immigrant from Turkey with a big dream to bring Greek yogurt to the United States. In just five years, Chobani was making over $1 billion in sales annually and became the number one Greek yogurt seller in America. Chobani quickly surpassed yogurt food giants, like Yoplait and Dannon, and transformed the U.S. yogurt market. When Chobani first opened its business, Greek yogurt made up only .2% of the whole yogurt market. Due to Chobani’s influence, Greek yogurt production grew to hold 50% of the market by 2013, with Chobani owning half of the Greek yogurt share.
To be a market inventor, you need to have a good product. But even more so, you need to address a problem in your market and propose the solution. Chobani addressed the lack of Greek yogurt options in America’s market through its unique and authentic brand.
Reinventing again and again.
Fast forward another five years: Chobani is still on top, but a few things have changed. The Greek yogurt trend has caught up, and now the market is over-saturated with Greek yogurts all vying for attention in the supermarket. Chobani started a trend, and although it’s still the leader in Greek yogurt, things could change if the brand doesn’t step it up a notch.
So step it up they did, in the form of a rebrand which coincides with the company’s 10th anniversary.
The most obvious aspect of the rebrand is the visuals: new food packaging, an updated logo, new company artwork and photography and a new website all launched in November 2017 as Chobani entered its tenth year of operations.
Beyond Yogurt: Food-Focused Wellness
Messaging is another big part of Chobani’s rebrand. Chobani has stated its moving beyond its identity as just a yogurt company and instead will become a “food-focused wellness company.” This not only represents Chobani’s ability to remain on top of the market, but it also demonstrates how Chobani constantly re-invents itself to remain in that leadership position.
Chobani has demonstrated its commitment to overall wellness for years, such as in 2016 when Founder Hamdi Ulukaya opened ownership grants for Chobani employees. Chobani also donates 10% of its profits to charity, and one third of the company’s workforce comprises of refugees.
For Chobani, this future of food-focused wellness could be anything from stand-alone yogurt and food stores to becoming a leader in economic development and sustainable business practices.
A part of the rebrand, we can expect to see Chobani pushing its new goals around wellness. Just last week, Chobani officially kicked off it’s “One for All” campaign, which aims to give away free yogurt to every single American (or 323 million people, if everyone were to try the free sample).
In the end, it was Chobani’s market inventor position that allowed the company to not only enter the market successfully, but maintain its leadership and completely rebrand itself. As Leland Maschmeyer, Chobani’s chief creative officer, said, “We were the category leader, and we felt that the best time to really differentiate ourselves and build for the future was when we were in a leadership position. That gave us the freedom, comfort and the time to make the right decisions so that we were building toward something great rather than reacting to an immediate challenge or problem.”
Brands striving to lead their markets (or enter a new market) can look to Chobani as a perfect example of a market inventor who does it right.