Chobani has begun pulling its strained yogurt range from shelves in the UK ahead of a "locally sourced, locally crafted" product relaunch in 2014 or 2015.
The New York-based company announced late last week that it intends to establish yogurt manufacturing operations in UK, and will withdraw from the market until a domestic production base is up and running.
Chobani expects that the majority of existing product will be removed from shelves by early 2014, and hopes to relaunch "within 12 to 14 months."
Currently, all Chobani yogurt sold in UK stores is shipped from the firm’s processing facility in New Berlin, New York.
In a statement sent to DairyReporter.com, Chobani said that the plan had always been to eventually produce its low-fat, high-protein yogurt in the UK.
Locally sourced, locally crafted
“Our goal has always been to offer Chobani as a locally sourced, locally crafted and manufactured product,” said a Chobani spokesperson. “We are currently in talks with potential partners and it is our expectation to begin producing Chobani in the UK and creating UK jobs.”
“While we transition to this model, we have decided to temporarily withdraw our product in the UK until Chobani can be crafted with pride in Britain.”
Chobani currently boasts operations in New York, Idaho and near Melbourne, Australia.
According the spokesperson, producing locally has “proved tremendously successful in the US and Australia.” It now has “high hopes of the same result in the UK.”
The spokesperson added that Chobani plans to open stores, similar to its Chobani SoHo café in New York, and is “actively looking for properties in the UK.”
Chobani first hit the shelves in the US in 2007. Six years later, the brand controls around 40% of the booming US Greek yogurt category.
Hoping to capitalize on its meteoric rise in the US, Chobani expanded overseas - to Australia, Canada and the UK. But since its introduction to UK consumers in September 2012, Chobani has struggled to live up to the success experienced Stateside – partly as a result of a High Court injunction.
In March 2013, the UK High Court barred Chobani from using the term ‘Greek yogurt’ to market its yogurt range in England and Wales. As a result, Chobani and several other yogurt manufacturers were forced to relabel their products, with Chobani opting instead for the term, ‘Strained yogurt’. An appeal to the decision is due to be heard later this year.