Chobani Exploring 'Significant' Expansion of Upstate NY Yogurt Plant

The Chobani yogurt factory in South Edmeston employs approximately 1,000 people The Chobani yogurt factory in South Edmeston employs approximately 1,000 people

South Edmeston, N.Y. -- Chobani is considering building a significant expansion of its yogurt plant in South Edmeston, according to sou rces familiar with the matter.The sources said the expansion is being actively explored and would enable the company to expand products manufactured in the facility. Chobani's yogurt plant on County Route 25 near the Unadilla River employs approximately 1,000 people. The expansion the company is considering could result in the creation of a significant number of additional jobs, the sources said.

The expansion also could result in a significant increase in the amount of milk the plant consumes, the sources said. All milk used at the plant is purchased from farmers in New York.

"As a growth company, we explore opportunities on an ongoing basis to fuel our momentum," Michael Gonda, senior vice president of corporate affairs, said in a statement Friday. "While we have nothing to announce at this time, we're committed to our continued growth in Central New York and proud of our current contributions and the future opportunity here."

Kraft Foods operated a cheese factory at the plant starting in 1920. It later switched over to making yogurt at the facility. Kraft closed the Chenango County factory in 2005, putting 55 people out of work.

Turkish immigrant Hamdi Ulukaya bought the plant and began making Greek yogurt in 2007 under the brand name Chobani, which means shepherd in Greek. Chobani is now the best-selling Greek yogurt in the United States.

By Rick Moriarty