Chobani Greek Yogurt Makes Man a Billionaire

by Alyssa Oursler | September 14, 2012 9:34 am

Chobani Greek Yogurt Makes Man a Billionaire

Consumers have been snatching up and shoveling down yogurt left and right lately — and everyone’s trying to cash in.

Pepsi (NYSE:PEP[1]), for one, began selling the snack[2] in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, while General Mills (NYSE:GIS[3]) debuted 40 new yogurts[4] this year alone.

Part of the reason for General Mills’ move, though, was that Greek yogurt has become the latest craze — leaving its standard Yoplait brand nearly obsolete.

And to get an idea of just how popular Greek yogurt has become lately, one has to look no further than Turkish immigrant Hamdi Ulukaya, who has recently reached billionaire-status thanks to the healthy food.

Ulakaya is the founder and sole owner of Chobani Inc., a company that now makes the best-selling yogurt brand in America and now controls 17% of the U.S. yogurt market. Its sales have been booming to say the least, with  a five-fold increase since 2009.

He got the idea to start selling yogurt after seeing an ad on a shuttered Kraft Foods (NASDAQ:KFT[5]) factory years ago, Bloomberg reports, and took out a small business loan in order to buy the property.

From there, things have taken off — and the founder’s net worth has subsequently ballooned to around $1.1 billion.

Endnotes:
  1. PEP: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=PEP
  2. began selling the snack: http://investorplace.com/2012/07/pepsicos-smart-but-late-bet-on-yogurt/
  3. GIS: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=GIS
  4. debuted 40 new yogurts: http://investorplace.com/2012/06/general-mills-to-debut-40-new-yogurts-this-year/
  5. KFT: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=KFT

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