Chobani’s search for non-GMO fed herds could require 225,000 cows – Cowsmo

Chobani’s search for non-GMO fed herds could require 225,000 cows

Chobani announced on its blog last week that it was partnering with Green America in opening an organic yogurt line in 2015 and exploring GMO-free conventional yogurt.

Written by: Lucas Sjostrom 
A tall task for America’s number one Greek yogurt company, holding just under 40 percent of the market, according to an April 2014 Wall Street Journal article. 

The company’s 2013 media kit states that the original Chenango County, N.Y., plant utilizes 25 million pounds of milk per week, or 1.3 billion pounds per year. Chobani also opened the world’s largest yogurt plant in Twin Falls, Idaho, in December 2012. That plant is capable of processing 10 million pounds of milk each day according to the company, or 3.64 billion pounds of milk per year. At the combined capacity of 5 billion pounds per year, Chobani could be utilizing 2.5% of the nation’s milk supply in the near future.

Organic and GM-free yogurts coming

Green America, a group with articles like,“Replacing Dairy in Your Diet” on their blog, pressured the yogurt company over the summer to “keep it ‘real’” when touting their products’ were made from all-natural ingredients. Today, as Chobani notes, 90% of the cows in this country are fed with biotech-derived feed. 

Green America applauded when Chobani lost shelf space in December 2013, as Whole Foods Market removed the brand from stores in favor of finding GMO-free yogurt products. But last week, on October 7, 2014, the two announced a partnership to explore evolution of the U.S. milk supply.

The announcement coincided with Chobani’s notice of expansion into the organic market in 2015, where it will launch three flavors. Separately, the two organizations said they will work to convert Chobani’s and America’s milk supply to one from cows that are not fed genetically modified feeds.  

Both numbers could be hard to reach, because according to USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS), only 2.264 billion pounds of fluid milk sold in the U.S. was organic in 2013, or about 2.5 billion pounds less than Chobani would need at full capacity. Meanwhile, ERS reports that biotech corn and soybeans accounted for 93 and 94 percent of acreage in 2014, respectively.

Unless Chobani can obtain a little more than 200% of the current organic fluid milk supply for its own products, it will need to find nearly 225,000 conventional dairy cows on non-biotech feeds to achieve its goal.

Sources: Wall Street JournalThe Chobani Story

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