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Proves That It Pays to Do Things the Right Way THE SUCCESS OF CHOBANI
stuff’s used to kill bugs,” said one ad about potassium sorbate. The message was clear: Chobani isn’t going to cut corners to make a cheaper or lower calorie product that isn’t actually any healthier. “We’re empowering consumers with facts and information to help them make more informed decisions,” Peter McGuinness, Chobani’s chief marketing and brand officer, told the Washington Post about the campaign. Needless to say, the big boys weren’t too happy about this gloves-off strategy. Not that Chobani much cared. Their CEO, Hamdi Ulukaya, has stated from day one that the company will never be sold to a larger food company. Recently, Chobani has introduced new product lines that embody their healthy, natural approach. They have A Hint of Flavor yogurt options, which use less sugar, and Savor, a sour cream designed to be an alternative, the same way the yogurt is. IT’S NOT JUST ABOUT THE PRODUCT You would think making people healthier would be a noble enough goal in itself, but that’s far from the company’s only altruistic initiative. Their focus on doing things the right way extends to every aspect of their business.
Take the way Chobani treats its employees. Roughly 30 percent of the company’s employees are resettled refugees. They champion inclusion and diversity. If that weren’t enough, Ulukaya created a nonprofit, the Tent Foundation, dedicated to helping other corporate leaders develop programs to help refugees. Another way Chobani is helping others is through its in-house incubator. Through this program, the company provides funding to food companies who want to create healthier food options. Perhaps most impressive, though, is what Ulukaya did for his own employees in 2016. That April, he divested 10 percent of the company to his staff, providing them with hundreds of millions in shares. Talk about investing in your people. THE TIDES OF CHANGE It’s no secret that environmentally conscious and healthy choices are important to today’s consumers. Companies like Patagonia, REI, and Chobani are paving the way when it comes to making ethics front and center in the minds of customers. In turn, those customers become brand advocates and raving fans. Take a look at your company and start to think about ways you can give back and differentiate yourself from others. You may not be able to create an incubator of your own, but there’s definitely a way to do more in your community. You can even follow the lead of Ulukaya himself. “Whatever I see in the world that discourages me,” he says, “I answer with Chobani.”
Not long ago, the yogurt section of your local grocery store was stocked with the same three or four mega brands. Today, there are a lot more options. This transformation is largely due to the success and influence of Chobani, the company that started the Greek yogurt revolution. But, their growth isn’t just due to offering a better product; it’s the result of a purpose-based approach and an employee-focused business model. A HEALTHIER WORLD, ONE CUP AT A TIME Chobani’s statement of purpose details the entire scope of the company’s program. It reads as follows: Our purpose is to make universal wellness happen sooner. We’re totally and deeply committed to playing an active role in transforming our food system for the betterment of our planet, our people, and our communities. Real change. Not just “checking the box.” Chobani stands in stark contrast to other food brands who put the bottom line ahead of their customer’s waistlines. They aren’t afraid to take their competitors to task for their less-than-natural products. In a 2016 ad campaign, they blasted established players like Dannon and Yoplait for using chemical additives in their products. “That
Now that his company is worth billions of dollars, expect even more answers in the future.
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