Chobani invests in the future of Victoria’s dairy industry
United States company Chobani is one of the world’s leading yogurt companies. In 2011, Chobani established its first presence in Australia by acquiring the Bead Foods brand and operations through its parent company Agro Farma, and later set up its Australian headquarters in Dandenong in south-east Victoria. Its Dandenong site is Chobani’s first manufacturing facility outside the US.
Global CEO and Founder of Chobani, Hamdi Ulukayai, said Chobani chose Australia as its first international market because of its ‘amazingly high-quality milk’ and knowledge of ‘Australia’s passion for great-tasting food’.
In addition to its own labelled Greek yogurt, Chobani manufactures a range of premium yogurt products that were part of the local acquisition. This includes the Gippsland Dairy brand, which sources its milk from the renowned dairy pastures of the Gippsland region, for retail outlets in Australia and select South East Asian markets. Chobani has continued to grow the Gippsland Dairy brand by over 40 per cent since the acquisition.
Since purchasing Bead Foods, Chobani has invested over A$30 million to upgrade the Dandenong site. It added over 3,000 square metres of wet processing and cool room facilities to the existing operations, securing the future of Victoria’s dairy farmers by significantly increasing its output. Victoria’s former Agriculture Minister, Peter Walsh MLA, said the expansion was good news for dairy farmers and a strong vote of confidence in its valuable sector.
The Chobani product portfolio continues to grow, with Chobani launching into a new category releasing Chobani Meze Dips in January 2016. Chobani are also currently working through another major capital upgrade for a new product launch, expected to drive further growth of the business and create even more jobs in the Dandenong South Area.
Managing Director of Chobani in Australia, Peter Meek, said authentic strained Greek yogurt, Chobani’s mainstay product, uses around triple the amount of fresh milk compared to other yogurts. Using a centuries-old straining process, Chobani strains three litres of milk to make 1 litre of Chobani Yogurt, making it deliciously thick, creamy and packed with almost double the protein of most regular yogurts. This significantly adds to the consumption of milk from dairy farmers and increases the nutritious value of the Chobani product.
Production at the Dandenong site began at 25,000 cases of yoghurt a week in 2011. Under Chobani’s ownership, output has increased to 30,000 cases a day, with the overall business doubling in size over four years.
Chobani’s expanded yoghurt factory, which officially opened in December 2012, also created 200 jobs – a boost to the local and national economy as it fills the void left by other manufacturers that departed the area.
With a strong focus on giving back to the local community and diversity in employment, Chobani has also worked with the local migrant resource centre to identify and recruit employees.
Kingston City Council CEO John Nevins believes Chobani and the companies that have set up in south-east Victoria are ‘evolving the region’s manufacturing ability’.
With the Chobani and Gippsland Dairy products gaining popularity in Australia, the company’s strong sales performance is also boosted through exports to Asia, where it performs well in Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. Chobani’s Australian headquarters is a strategic hub in its global value chain to drive further growth of the brand, and Australian dairy, into Asia.