Americans are buying of 1.8 million cases per week of this mans yogurt.
A gigantic story , a man form very humble beginnings, Hamdi Ulukaya turned the fortunes of an essentially run down 90-year-old yogurt plant in New Berlin, N.Y., from Kraft Foods in 2005 . He then started producing small batches of his new yoghurt , testing it and storing it for weeks and months on end to see if the yoghurt kept its quality
This is the story of Ulukaya the master yogurt.
“The first thing I did when I started this journey was that I realized that I didn’t know much. I would make meetings with bankers or engineers, and ninety percent of the things they were trying to tell me — I had no idea with they were talking about.” He could fake it and figure it out, or he could ask questions.
Mumble jumble to him but as he put it “The best thing I did was to say, ‘Tell me a simpler way to understand.’”
After 18 months , the first 300 cases of Chobani yogurt went to a kosher store on Long Island, and Ulukaya’s waited for a very long week to see the reponse. Suffice to say The order came with good feedback and the next case was ordered : The story starts as simply as this
“At that point, I knew this wasn’t going to be about selling; it was going to be about making. And the big guys were going to hear about this. They were going to kill me,” he said.
But Ulukaya prepared and prepared well. Before he went to market, he interviewed shoppers at the dairy case and found out that they were mixing fruit into plain nonfat Greek yogurt because the leading brand only offered fruit with full-fat. So he flipped the equation and made his fruit flavors nonfat.
Ulukaya decided to approach traditional distribution differently Instead of distributing his yogurt into smaller stores, he went directly to the big national chains. It was more expensive, and Ulukaya didn’t have the resources to pay the $200,000 that his first buyer demanded to sell Chobani. So Ulukaya bet the farm. “We told them we would pay them in yogurt. And what if the yoghurt doesn’t sell?” he remembered. “We told them we’d give them the plant.”
The gamble paid off, and Ulukaya’s non-traditional took the dairy industry by storm. “I realized that those big guys — they’re not that clever,” he said. “It’s a very old way of doing business. It’s very slow, and they don’t react very fast.”
Now, Ulukaya and Chobani are expanding to stay ahead of the competition, taking care not to be slowed by the weight of their success. “We never sit and wonder what we’re going to do next,” he said, “Being in the action of doing, it comes.”
“I had no idea I was a marketer, a finance guy, a leader,” he said. “I got to learn myself and the people I work with. I learned what makes this country so great — the passion and the belief.”
Things have been going well and not more so than for his employees. Today Ulukaya just gave away ten per cent of his shares to all employees. It is an unusual move for a food company.
Shares will be distributed among Chobani’s 2,000 employees worldwide and for some the shares could, reportedly, be worth millions of dollars.
However he was quoted to say at his the plants headquarters
This isn’t a gift. It’s a mutual promise to work together with a shared purpose and responsibility. To continue to create something special and of lasting value,” he told staff