Whole Foods Market, Inc., announced on Wednesday that it plans to phase out Chobani Greek Yogurt from its stores early next year to focus on organic and non-GMO products.
“As the national demand for Greek yogurt has grown, the number of conventional Greek yogurt options has multiplied,” the Austin, TX-based grocery firm said in a statement. “Whole Foods Market challenged its Greek yogurt suppliers to create unique options for shoppers to enjoy – including exclusive flavors, non-GMO options and organic choices.”
“At this time, Chobani has chosen a different business model, so Whole Foods Market will be phasing Chobani Greek Yogurt out of its stores in early 2014 to make room for product choices that aren’t readily available on the market,” the statement continued.
Chobani yogurt is not organic, and critics say it uses milk from cows fed GMO animal feed. Chobani officials stated Wednesday in a blog post that its yogurt production requires a “high volume of milk and the necessary amount of organic milk is simply not available to support our broad consumer demand.” Chobani is the number-one seller of Greek-style yogurt in the U.S.
Chobani voluntarily recalled some of its Greek-style yogurt cups in September after customers complained about bloated cups and foul-smelling or off-tasting yogurt. At the time, the company blamed the situation on “isolated quality concerns” at its Idaho facility, which it said affected less than 5 percent of production. The problem was attributed to a common mold, Mucor circinelloides.
Whole Foods announced this past spring that it will start requiring labels on all genetically modified food (GMOs) by 2018.