Chobani Greek Yogurt; Photo Courtesy: Associated Press
By Jessica Bakeman
ALBANY Chobani Greek yogurt will be served in school lunches as part of a U.S. Department of Agriculture pilot program, federal lawmakers announced Friday.
U.S. Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., and Rep. Richard Hanna, R-Barneveld, Oneida County, pushed for Chobani's inclusion in the pilot program, which will launch in September in four states -- New York, Tennessee, Idaho and Arizona.
New York leads the country in Greek yogurt production; Chobani is based in Chenango County.
"Starting this school year, students across the state will be balancing New York-made Chobani Greek yogurt on their lunch trays," Schumer said in a statement Friday. "This is the next step in ensuring that New York school children have access to a more nutritious, protein-rich product, which benefits our New York Greek yogurt producers and dairy farmers to boot."
Hanna, who represents Chenango County and other parts of the Southern Tier and the Hudson Valley, touted the pilot program as a boost to the economy of central New York.
"This is good news for our state's growing Greek yogurt industry, as well as the hardworking upstate dairy farmers who support it," he said.
Chobani spokesperson Nicki Briggs stressed the nutritional benefits of Greek yogurt. The company is "thrilled" to bring its product to school cafeterias, Briggs said in a statement.
"Kids will love the great taste of Chobani, and parents and school leaders will love the benefit of Chobani as a protein-packed menu option," Briggs said.