Chobani, the yogurt company that grew from nothing five years ago to a roughly $1 billion powerhouse today, on Monday formally opened one of the world’s largest yogurt-processing plants in Twin Falls, Idaho.
“I’m so excited,” said Hamdi Ulukaya, founder and chief executive of Chobani. “I’ve been waiting for this moment for so long.”
The $450 million, 1 million square-foot plant is the company’s second. It will employ 300 people, and Ulukaya said for every 10 jobs it creates directly, it is expected to create 66 additional jobs in ancillary businesses. “The state expects the total economic impact of our business there to be $1.3 billion,” he said.
In exchange, Chobani qualified for a variety of state tax incentives, including property tax exemption and credit off tax liabilities. Idaho’s position as one of the country’s largest milk producers and the transportation network around Twin Falls also were attractions, Ulukaya said.
The new plant is yet another sign of America’s growing appetite for yogurt and its willingness to embrace new brands over old, as evidenced by Chobani’s explosive growth as well as that of Fage and now, Muller Quaker Dairy, a joint venture between PepsiCo and Unternehmensgruppe Theo Muller, a privately held German dairy company.
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