Responding to grocer Whole Foods decision to drop Chobani, the founder of the top-selling Greek yogurt brand downplayed the news, saying in a statement that "though we have very limited distribution within Whole Foods, they have been an important partner of ours over the years."
Founder and CEO Hamdi Ulukaya added that "We're mass and we're proud of it and consumers everywhere can find our Greek Yogurt at their local stores."
The Wall Street Journal this week broke the news that Whole Foods was dropping Chobani. Various news articles suggest the reason is because the dairy cows that supply milk to Chobani are fed genetically modified feed. The company has processing plants in New York and Utah.
GMO Inside, a campaign of national non-profit Green America, was quick to praise Whole Foods' move.
"We applaud Whole Foods' decision today [Dec. 18] to drop Chobani yogurts from its shelves. GMO Inside first sounded the alarm about the presence of GMO feed in the milk found in Chobani products in summer 2013. Since then, twenty thousand consumers have taken action to urge Chobani to drop GMOs from its supply chain, and posted comments on Chobani's Facebook page."
But in her blog "Why did Whole Foods drop Chobani?"on washingtonpost.com, Lydia DePillis cites a statement from Whole Foods that the use of GMOs is not the reason.
Whatever the reason, Ulukaya's statement showed that he was not about to burn any bridges.
"As the No. 1 Greek Yogurt brand in America using only natural ingredients, we share an affinity with Whole Foods and its shoppers. We know our fans love buying our products in their stores and we hope to continue our partnership moving forward," Ulukaya said.