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Whole Foods Market to drop ChobaniWhole Foods Market to drop Chobani

It was announced Wednesday that Whole Foods Market will phase out selling the popular Greek yogurt brand Chobani in 2014. Are GMO concerns to blame?

Jenna Blumenfeld

December 18, 2013

2 Min Read
Whole Foods Market to drop Chobani

Chobani's woes keep on coming.

Following consumer backlash that the Greek yogurt brand wasn't sourcing verified GMO-free milk, Whole Foods Market announced Wednesday that it will stop selling Chobani by early 2014. The decision, Whole Foods explains in a statement quoted by the Associated Press, is to sell more organic yogurt and specialty yogurts while also “offering shoppers the widest variety of high quality products possible, including new items shoppers simply can't find anywhere else."

Whole Foods was lauded in March 2013, when the company announced it would label all non-GMO foods by 2018—a move praised by many associations such as INFRA.

“Whole Foods Market challenged its Greek yogurt suppliers to create unique options for shoppers to enjoy—including exclusive flavors, non-GMO options and organic choices," the grocer's most recent statement continues. "At this time, Chobani has chosen a different business model.” Some believe the decision was made partly due to GMO concerns.

"'We are always evolving our product mix to make sure we are meeting our shoppers’ needs, and in this case with Greek-style yogurt we are making room for more organic and non-GMO' options," Robin Kelly, spokeswoman for Whole Foods, told the New York Times.

Yesterday Chobani published a blog on their website outlining their GMO stance. “We agree that people have a right to know what’s in their food,” the blog begins. “In the meantime, none of our non-dairy ingredients have been genetically modified, the milk that we use is rBST-free, and we support the use of non-GMO feed for cows.

"We stand by the 875 farms that provide us with milk as they explore new feed options… We would like to assure our fans that we remain dedicated to navigating the complexities specific to dairy, knowing that teamwork from our farmers and industry is necessary.”

Green America and GMO Inside, sister organizations responsible for sparking mass consumer concern about milk from GMO-fed cows, supports Whole Foods’ decision. “[Since summer 2013], twenty thousand consumers have taken action to urge Chobani to drop GMOs from its supply chain, and posted comments on Chobani’s Facebook page,” the GMO Inside said in a press release.

“GMO Inside encourages consumers to seek out the growing range of non-GMO and organic yogurts and is pleased that Whole Foods will be making more space available on its shelves for these options, particularly when it concerns GMO animal feed in dairy operations.”

Whole Foods still carries yogurt brands that contain GMO-related ingredients, adds The Times.

About the Author(s)

Jenna Blumenfeld


Jenna Blumenfeld lives in Boulder, Colorado, where she reports on the natural products industry, sustainable agriculture, and all things plant based. 

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