According to The Wall Street Journal, the nation's biggest high-end grocery chain Whole Foods Market will reportedly stop selling Chobani yogurt by early 2014 to make room for more organic and GMO-free brands, according to the paper's sources inside. Whole Foods has stated its intentions to remove all food containing genetically-modified organisms, or GMOs, among their ingredients without disclosing the fact on labels by 2018.
Chobani markets its Greek yogurt as containing only natural ingredients, but it has received complaints from consumer advocacy groups for its use of milk that comes from dairy cows fed with GMO animal feed. GMO Inside, a campaign of national non-profit Green America, issued the following statement:
“We applaud Whole Foods’ decision today to drop Chobani yogurts from its shelves. GMO Inside first sounded the alarm about the presence of GMO feed in the milk found in Chobani products in summer 2013. Since then, 20,000 consumers have taken action to urge Chobani to drop GMOs from its supply chain, and posted comments on Chobani’s Facebook page."
Whole Foods said they plan to fill the shelf space vacated by Chobani with more niche, organic and GMO-free yogurts, especially since the yogurt section has grown increasingly crowded. Whole Foods' strategy will be to trade out brands that are widely sold in other stores for more exclusive ones.
Chobani, the leader of the Greek yogurt craze in the U.S., said it still hopes to renew its partnership with Whole Foods in the future. The company, based in New Berlin, N.Y., started making yogurt in 2007 and has grown to about $1 billion in annual retail sales. Greek yogurt now makes up about one-third of the yogurt on shelves a typical grocery store.
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