U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, as well as Representative Richard Hanna today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has awarded New York’s Chobani Yogurt with a one-month contract to provide its yogurt to public schools across seven states through the USDA’s School Lunch Program Pilot. These states will include New York, Arizona, Idaho, California, Iowa, Illinois, and Mississippi. Chobani will be providing its greek yogurt from the beginning of the school year in August through September. In addition, New York’s Upstate Niagara Cooperative – based in Buffalo – will also be supplying schools in Arizona with Greek Yogurt. USDA will be considering bids to provide greek yogurt for the rest of the school year. The entire pilot program will run through the end of the school year in June 2015.
“I am proud to announce that New York-made Greek yogurt will make its way to school lunchrooms across the country starting in August,” said Senator Schumer. “This is a major win for New York State and the entire New York dairy industry, and is proof positive that greek yogurt is a true economic engine for the state. I commend USDA for selecting Chobani and Upstate Niagara and look forward to the rave reviews I know we will get from students around the country who will now be able to enjoy these great Upstate New York products. I look forward to continuing to work with Senator Gillibrand and Congressman Hanna to bring greek yogurt across the country.”
“This is great news. Greek yogurt like Chobani and Upstate Niagara is packed with healthy protein that our schoolchildren deserve access to in their school lunches,” said Senator Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee. “New York State is home to a strong and growing Greek yogurt industry. And when we connect Chobani to lunchrooms across the state and across the country, we can give our children better access to healthy, nutritious food, while strengthening New York’s own dairy industry. I am pleased to work with Senator Schumer, Congressman Hanna, and the USDA to continue to build on this important initiative.”
“It’s excellent that more students throughout the country will be able to enjoy Greek yogurt as part of their school meals,” Rep. Hanna said. “Upstate New York’s own Chobani is leading this program and providing a nutritious and healthy option for our children. This is another tremendous opportunity for Chobani, for our state’s growing Greek yogurt industry, and for the hardworking Upstate dairy farmers who support it.”
Following news in January that schools that participated in an initial 3-month Greek yogurt pilot had consumed 200,000 pounds and $300,000-worth of Greek yogurt, USDA decided to expand the program to twelve states–New York, Arizona, Idaho, Tennessee, California, Iowa, Connecticut, Illinois, North Carolina, Vermont, Washington and Mississippi. Only seven of those twelve states will be receiving greek yogurt from Chobani and Upstate Niagara in this first month of the program.