A look at New York’s booming Greek yogurt industry

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New York’s Greek yogurt industry has taken off, helping propel it to the top yogurt-producing state in the country. Can it keep hold of its reign or will other states take the lead?

Cornell University released its first of two research papers analyzing the impact – and potential – of New York’s Greek yogurt production. The first paper looks at the rise of Greek yogurt popularity in New York and future growth within the state.

According to the report, New York won the geographic lottery in Greek yogurt production. Its close proximity to dense population centers, high milk production volume and easy access to interstates put them at a competitive edge against other states, such as California, Wisconsin and Idaho.

Authorities believe that to some degree, a “follow the leader” mentality – in this case, Fage and Chobani – helped propel the state’s Greek yogurt industry. Others point that companies followed the milk. New York has ample milk for their operations and produces more milk than any surrounding states.

Greek yogurt is expected to continue to grow at an exceedingly high rate over the next five to 10 years, but with the increase in demand also comes an increase in supply. Though New York is expected to stay keeps its title as the country’s leading Greek yogurt producer, other states in the West will also step up to the challenge.

The research suggest that a recent trend in central and eastern New York of very low or even negative growth in milk production could stunt Greek yogurt growth in the state, and some companies are concerned for the long-term competitiveness of New York’s dairy farmers "vis-à-vis" those in other milk producing states.

Before the state’s Greek yogurt boom can fizzle, many companies in the state believe that there is a role for New York State in improving the climate for business across the entire dairy sector.  Specifically,  they see an opportunity for the government to reduce disincentives and increase incentives to promote growth in milk production and facilitate the building large-scale digesters.

The researchers concluded that there is hope for the long-term success of New York’s Greek yogurt industry.  A second study will build on what was gained from this report.

Click here to read, “Industry Evaluations of the Status and Prospects for the Burgeoning New York Greek-style Yogurt Industry.”

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Carroll Wade    
N Y  |  November, 28, 2013 at 08:44 AM

We must make sure that the farmers are being paid fairly for their production . The yogurt industry wants cheap milk , not just more milk . It is one of the most profitable products to make from milk and the industry is not sharing that wealth with the producers . It doesn't make sense for farmers to borrow money to stay in business or expand just to see the yogurt business grow . All of the borrowed money has to be paid back some day . Farmers need to assume the responsibility of putting a price on their production which will cover their cost of production plus a profit . That profit can't be just enough to get by , but must be substantial .

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