July 26, 2013

Crapo Announces Idahoâ??s Chobani Selected for Greek Yogurt Pilot Program

Senator, Superintendent Luna and Meridian Schools plan August 13 event on the new program

Washington, D.C. - Today, Idaho Senator Mike Crapo announced that Chobani, which employs more than 600 Idahoans at its Twin Falls production plant, has been selected as the Greek yogurt of choice for the new U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Greek yogurt pilot program.  Idaho, along with three other states, was chosen earlier this month to participate in the pilot program that will feature Greek yogurt in school lunches starting in the fall of 2014.

"Greek yogurt is packed with protein and nutrients essential to a healthy diet," Crapo said.  "I previously commended USDA's decision to make this healthy option increasingly available to Idaho's children.  Idaho dairy producers and processors are leading the charge in developing and producing innovative dairy products that are feeding families within and beyond Idaho's borders.  Today's news not only benefits Idaho's communities, but our thriving dairy industry.  I have advocated for the inclusion of Greek yogurt in school lunches and am proud Chobani, with its presence here in Twin Falls, Idaho, has been selected to play a key role in the program."

 "Studies show that eating healthy, nutritious meals has a positive impact on student achievement.  For years, Idaho has demonstrated it is a leader in providing healthy, nutritious meals for Idaho students during the school day.  I am proud our state is once again taking the lead and working to provide students with healthier options, including those produced right here in Idaho," said Tom Luna, Idaho Superintendent of Public Instruction.

"We strongly believe that everyone, especially kids should have access to simple, delicious, nourishing foods so we are thrilled to bring our authentic, strained Greek Yogurt to K-12 schools as part of the USDA's pilot program," said Chobani Chief Communications Officer Nicki Briggs, MS, RD. "Kids will love the great taste of Chobani and parents and school leaders will love the benefit of Chobani as a protein-packed menu option."

Idaho is home to Chobani's award-winning Greek yogurt facility which produces nearly 1 million cases of Greek yogurt per week.  Crapo recently visited the plant, which processes between 2 and 2.5 million pounds of milk per day.  The plant is the largest Greek yogurt manufacturing plant in the world.

USDA indicated that the pilot program will test market demand for this product and help provide schools with an additional option to meet meal pattern requirements.  If successful in the trial states, Greek yogurt may become a permanent fixture on USDA's Foods List for purchase for schools nationwide.

Crapo will join with Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna and officials with Chobani and the Meridian School District for an event August 13 announcing details of the availability of Greek yogurt in Idaho schools.