A British court ruled that New York-headquartered Greek yogurt company Chobani cannot label its products “Greek yogurt” in the U.K. The reason? Its yogurt is made in the U.S.
While Italian dressing and French fries have long been accepted as worldwide commodities despite their names, Greek yogurt is new on the scene, and some companies would like to keep it in the country – at least in terms of production. Fage, a Greek company and one of Chobani’s competitors, argued in the case that the “Greek yogurt” label misled customers to believe the product had been made in Greece. The reality is that Greek yogurt differs from regular yogurt only in the number of times it is strained during the production process.
While the British court agreed with Fage, Chobani remains unwilling to give up the fight. The company plans to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court.
Chobani launched in 2007 and has quickly become the top seller of Greek yogurt in the U.S. In 2012, the company launched their products in the U.K., where Fage has reigned as the leading Greek yogurt brand.
"We remain of the view that the population of the U.K. know and understand Greek yogurt to be a product description regardless of where it is made," Chobani said in a statement. "We remain committed to the U.K. market and to breaking the monopoly on the use of the term Greek yogurt enjoyed by Fage.”
While Chobani played a huge role in Greek yogurt’s rise in the U.S., recent months have been hard on the chain. A redesign sparked controversy, as the company's yogurt containers shrank to 5.3 ounces from 6 ounces, while remaining the same price. This past December, Whole Foods pulled Chobani from their shelves due in part to concern over genetically modified ingredients.