Chobani says it's rolling out a 'multi-million dollar' ad push as it looks to expand beyond yogurt and eyes an IPO

  • Chobani is launching its biggest advertising push to date.
  • The push will support its expansion into food categories beyond yogurt.
  • The move comes on the heels of reports that the company is eyeing an IPO.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Greek yogurt maker Chobani is launching what it’s calling its biggest advertising push as it tries to become a larger food company. 

The move follows reports that the 16-year-old company is eyeing an IPO with a target valuation of as much as $10 billion, and an expansion in recent years to food categories beyond yogurt.

“Until 2019, we were just a Greek yogurt company — today, Chobani is a full-blown food company playing in multiple categories,” Federico Muyshondt, the company’s chief commercial officer, told Insider. “The campaign marks that evolution.”

New York-based Chobani was founded by Hamdi Ulukaya in 2005, and has used PR to promote its products along with its pro-refugee mission. It’s handled most of its ads internally so far, spending a little over $15 million in 2020, according to Kantar. Chobani has annual revenue of about $2 billion, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Its new campaign cost in the millions of dollars, more than previous campaigns, Muyshondt said, and kicks off this week with a 30-second animated TV spot called “Dear Alice” that promotes its mission of “better food for more people.” The campaign includes TV and online channels like YouTube, Hulu, and Facebook and was developed by its in-house team along with companies such as Horizon Media and The Line. More product-specific ads are expected to follow in the upcoming weeks.

Chobani helped popularize Greek-style yogurt in the US, leading other yogurt makers like Nestlé and Danone to follow suit. 

But overall yogurt sales have been falling in the past several years after a decade of growth, and Greek yogurt has lost ground to thicker, Icelandic styles and non-dairy yogurt made from coconut and almond. Chobani itself rolled out coconut yogurt in 2019.

And with trends like plant-based foods taking off and growing competition from hot new brands like Oatly (which also just filed to go public), Chobani has expanded to products like oat milk, refrigerated coffees, and functional beverages like kombucha.

“We see a lot of similarities with what happened with Greek yogurt a decade ago happening in these high-growth categories right now,” Muyshondt said. “We believe we’re going to accelerate growth for each of these categories.”

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