One year ago, the business world had written off Chobani founder and CEO Hamdi Ulukaya.
Rumours swirled that Ulukaya would lose his job after the Greek yogurt brand faces a series of unprecedented woes, reports Craig Giamonna at Bloomberg Businessweek.
After Chobani became popular with shoppers, competitors like Dannon and General Mills flooded the market. The brand’s operations struggled after a product recall in 2013.
But Ulukaya has recently executed a stunning turnaround, with Chobani’s growth outpacing that of the overall yogurt market. The company has posted positive earnings for 15 months.
Ulukaya tells Businessweek he took two steps to turn business around.
1. Scale operations
Chobani hit shelves in 2007 when Ulukaya, a Turkish immigrant, decided the thick, creamy yogurt he grew up eating could appeal to the masses. But since then, it’s turned into a supermarket powerhouse.
After hitting some challenges, Ulukaya hired an interim president and chief operations officer to improve operations. He’s also hired Goldman Sachs to study the possibility of a larger food company, such as Kraft or General Mills, taking a minority stake in Chobani. This could give the brand access to better infrastructure going forward.
2. Get people to eat yogurt all day
The majority of consumers eat yogurt in the morning. Chobani has announced a new brand, Flip, to get people to see yogurt as an indulgence. Flip includes Greek yogurt “with something crunchy, like bits of dark chocolate or biscotti,” according to Businessweek.
Ulukaya says Flip sales will double to $US250 million this year.
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