Small yogurt producer Stonyfield's Greek yogurt line is the winner in a decision that leaves Chobani out of Whole Foods’ dairy aisle.
According to the Associated Press, Whole Foods announced its decision to phase out Chobani Greek yogurt of its stores in early 2014, fueled by a push to no longer sell food that use genetically modified ingredients.
It's also to offer more exclusive and organic products.
"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," the company said in a statement. "At this time, Chobani has chosen a different business model."
According to Stonyfield chairman and co-founder Gary Hirshberg, the switch is also part of a growing consumer trend to make purchasing choices based on where their food is coming from.
“This is not anti-GMO, necessarily, this is pro-transparency,” said.
Chobani founder and CEO Hamdi Ulukaya doesn’t believe the decision will mark an end to their relationship with Whole Foods.
“Though we have very limited distribution within Whole Foods, they have been an important partner of ours over the years,” he said in a statement here. “As the number one Greek Yogurt brand in America using only natural ingredients, we share an affinity with Whole Foods and its shoppers. We know our fans love buying our products in their stores and we hope to continue our partnership moving forward.”
Reactions to the decision have been mixed for Chobani fans, with some demanding the company stop using milk from cows fed GMO grain, while others remain unfazed.
“Thank you for standing up for American agriculture and the Good Ag Practices that are in place for production. In order to feed the world, we'll need to utilize the best SCIENCE in our food production and make decisions based on fact vs. emotion. I've always been a fan but I'm thrilled that you didn't cave to Whole Foods and will continue to make your product available in other retailers! Thank you,” one of the company’s fans said on their Facebook page.