Monday, September 17, 2012


You might ask: Why is there a post about Greek yogurt on this site?

Answer: Because it's really Turkish.

Lots of Turkish stuff in this country is labelled as Greek. In this case, people were already familiar with Greek yogurt, even though it's the same stuff the Turks make.

Tomato, tomahhhto. Whatever!

So what makes this Turkish/Greek stuff different from regular yogurt?

It's strained.

When I lived in Turkey, I was like: What is it with this thick stuff?
I was yearning for Yoplait, you see, but all while the Turkish stuff was better for me.
Less fat, more protein. No artificial anything.

Me being a word-a-holic, the purpose here is to let you in on the roots of the name Chobani.

Choban is the Turkish word for a shepherd. When you add an i, the word is modified to mean "shepherd's style". Technically, I think the i is an Arabic addition. You know the Ottomans were all over the Middle East, so they must have picked up some word habits while they were there.

The Chobani story:

While tidying up his desk back in 2005, our Founder and CEO, Hamdi Ulukaya, stumbled upon a classified ad for a yogurt plant recently closed down by Kraft. After initially throwing the ad away, Hamdi listened to his gut, fished it out of the trash and went to see it that day. He decided to buy the plant on the spot, and went to work on perfecting the recipe for Chobani based on his belief that everyone, regardless of income or location, deserved access to delicious, high-quality yogurt. The first cup of CHO finally hit shelves 18 months later and has since grown to become America’s #1 yogurt.

To me, Hamdi sounds like an Egyptian first name. Ulukaya is definitely Turkish . Maybe that's how the name Chobani happened. Hybrid people make up hybrid words - I know I do it all the time.

Per the (very cute) video below, Hamdi Ulukaya grew up in eastern Turkey.

So I'm off to have some black cherry Chobani.

What's your favorite flavor?


Old Kitty said...

a) I didn't know Greek yoghurt is also Turkish yoghurt
b) I never knew they came in different flavours!!

Now I know! Thank you!

Yay!! Take care

amesababe said...

I eat mostly plain yogurt. I am attracted to the nutritional attributes of chobani. I have tried it, it is very thick. When I eat it I want to dilute it with some milk- just because the texture is so creamy-thick. Thanks for informing us about how it is actually Turkish. My father had an Armenian colleague in the 1970's who used to import is family guarded personal yogurt culture. People can make their own yogurt quite easily--both my kids do, with raw milk no less!

Carolyn V said...

Mmmm, I love the Greek yogurt. So good. ;)

Southpaw said...

I didn't know they came in anything but plain either.

LTM said...

ahhh!!! It's *strained.* That's what makes the difference. I tell ya, I started eating Greek yogurt a while back, and now I can't even hardly eat the French kind! :D

Another "Greek" thing--when I was visiting Texas once, I stopped by a "Greek" food stand in the mall and was so excited to see schwerma on the menu. But why Greek? I asked. Apparently that goes over better than Lebanese there... ;p

fun stuff~ <3

Chobani said...

Thanks so much for sharing the Chobani story! Great post. :)


Carolyn Abiad said...

Congrats to Hamdi Ulukaya of Chobani for winning the E&Y Entrepreneur of the Year 2012!

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