While standing at the Chobani Yogurt Plant, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and U.S. Representative Richard Hanna (R-N.Y.) announced support for the reclassification of Greek yogurt under the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) MyPlate nutrition guides. Currently, Greek yogurt is not differentiated from traditional yogurt. However, Greek yogurt has twice the protein than regular yogurt.
“Greek yogurt should be a protein option during lunch in our schools,” Senator Gillibrand said. “Our dairy industry is vital to New York State. Greek yogurt has so much protein because it requires up to three times the amount of milk. This is a win for our students and a win for our community.”
“Greek yogurt is a booming industry in upstate New York that is creating jobs and revitalizing our farm businesses,” said Representative Hanna. “Greek yogurt also happens to be tasty, healthy and rich in protein. It is only right that Greek yogurt be properly counted as an protein in school lunches so that more children will be able to enjoy this nutritious food. Updating the nutrition guidelines will have a real positive impact on our kids and our growing Greek yogurt industry.”
“We founded Chobani with the goal of making real, delicious yogurt accessible to everyone. But currently our nation's schools struggle to make this healthy offering available to children throughout the school day,” said Hamdi Ulukaya, Chobani President and CEO. “We strongly support Senator Gillibrand and Representative Hanna's initiative to differentiate Greek yogurt from regular yogurt and make this protein packed option more affordable under the National School Meal Program Guidelines.”
In their letter to the USDA, Senator Gillibrand and Rep. Hanna urged the Secretary of Agriculture to update the MyPlate nutrition guides to reflect the health benefits of Greek yogurt. They asserted that Greek yogurt should be permitted as an affordable, high protein option under the National School Lunch Program, which is responsible for feeding 31 million students daily. The inclusion of Greek yogurt in the National School Lunch Program would save school systems money while purchasing wholesome meals for students.