Innovation lessons from Chobani

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Published on June 21, 2016 with No Comments

Occupying space Number 40 on the 50 most innovative companies of 2012 is Chobani – the Greek yogurt company. It went from zero to $700 million in sales in less than a decade while competing against established yogurt brands such as Yoplait and Dannon. Chobani’s founder, Hamdi Ulukaya, an immigrant from Turkey has been called the Steve Jobs of yogurt for taking a mundane product such as yogurt and turning it into a cash cow of sorts, in a way that’s similar to a tech startup.

But rather than take one of the numerous buyout offers, or rest on its creamy culture, Chobani is making news for even more yogurt innovation. Just yesterday Chobani SoHo debuted in New York City. There, customers can buy non-frozen yogurt in a manner that’s similar to the Cherry Berry frozen yogurt bars. Cups of Chobani yogurt can be mixed (by an in-house mixmaster) with a selection of ingredient choices including toasted coconut and pineapple, pistachio and chocolate and others. Okay, so it’s more like Coldstone Creamery meets Cherry Berry.

Rather than just being a cup of yogurt, Chobani will now be an experience. Going to the Chobani store could be similar to a trip to the Apple Store, except that the genius bar will be a yogurt bar. Meanwhile, Hamdi Ulukaya says that any type of company can be like Chobani by following a few simple rules. Keep the product simple and extraordinary, invest in your core such as the plant that manufactures your goods, be honest in marketing claims, focus on profits, and always let the people who are making the product know that you are there beside them – sometimes even in person.

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