Chobani Greek yogurt picked for federal school lunch program

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"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," Chobani spokesperson Nicki Briggs said in a written statement. "Offering food options that deliver on taste and nutrition, like Greek Yogurt, will encourage children to develop healthy, balanced eating habits." 

The USDA announced in July that it would add Greek yogurt, which is high in protein, to school lunches in the four states to increase the number of available healthy menu items in lunchrooms.

That announcement was praised by Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), who has pushed the department to include Greek yogurt in school lunch menus.

At the time he called it a “boon for New York yogurt and dairy industries” and a benefit for children across the country.

Chobani is based in New Berlin, N.Y., and owns the largest yogurt manufacturing facility in the world, which is in Twin Falls, Idaho.

The company sells more Greek yogurt than any other manufacturer in the country. It has spent $80,000 on lobbying so far this year.

The USDA will review the pilot program and decide whether it should be expanded to more states by December.