After 10 years of Greek-yogurt dominance, the company is branching out
EC: What's the Deal with Chobani's New Smooth Yogurt?
Credit: Photo by Maxine Builder

Ever since Chobani started making yogurt in 2007, the company has been synonymous with Greek yogurt. That's because Greek yogurt is the only style of yogurt the New York-based company has made for the last 10 years—until now. Today, it's launching Chobani Smooth, the company's first non-Greek yogurt. The low-fat yogurt comes in five blended flavors: vanilla, black cherry, strawberry, peach, and blueberry. But what is the difference between Chobani Smooth and Chobani Greek yogurt, and why, after a decade of Greek-yogurt dominance, is Chobani adding a non-Greek yogurt to their offerings?

The primary difference between Chobani's Smooth and Greek-style yogurt has to do with the taste and the texture. Michael Gonda, vice president of corporate communications at Chobani, told me that this new Chobani yogurt is sweeter and, as the name suggests, smoother in texture than its Greek counterpart. It just doesn't have the thickness of Greek yogurt or the tartness. It tastes more like fruit and cream rather than tart yogurt, even though the fruit flavors are blended into the yogurt itself.

While there are some slight differences between the nutritional values of Chobani's Greek yogurt as compared to the new Smooth varieties, it's pretty close. For instance, a 5.3-ounce cup of non-fat vanilla-flavored Chobani Greek yogurt has 110 calories, 13 grams of sugar, and 13 grams of protein. A 5.3-ounce cup of low-fat vanilla-flavored Smooth, or "classic," yogurt has 120 calories, 14 grams of sugar, and 11 grams of protein.

Where Chobani Smooth's nutritional advantage really stands out is in comparison with the other "traditional" yogurts on the market. According to a press release, "Chobani Smooth has 25 percent less sugar (14g per cup), with 120 calories and 2x more protein (11g) than other regular yogurts." And this highlights the reason why Chobani wanted to come out with a non-Greek yogurt in the first place.

According to Gonda, 1.8 million Americans didn't buy traditional yogurt last year because they couldn't find an option that they actually wanted to eat. "We think that's an option that has less sugar, more protein, and made with all-natural ingredients." Gonda is basically arguing that a yogurt like that hasn't existed in the so-called classic yogurt aisle until this point.

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Credit: Photo by Maxine Builder

"With this launch, we're now not just a Greek yogurt company. We're providing people with options across the aisle," Gonda says. Their so-called "traditional" yogurt, he explains, "is inspired by what Americans, many of our consumers, grew up on," but made with the same high-quality ingredients they associate with Chobani. "Unlike a lot of our competitors, we're using real milk," Gonda says, "and we're also using milk from cows that have not been treated with rBST hormones."

That means that Chobani Smooth is made with the same milk and yogurt cultures that are used in Chobani's Greek yogurt, just manufactured with a slightly different process. So really, the difference between Chobani Greek and Smooth comes down to personal preference—and whether you like your yogurt tart or sweet, Chobani wants to sell it to you.

By Maxine Builder and Maxine Builder