TWIN FALLS, Idaho — Greek yogurt producer Chobani welcomed state and local officials and the community of Twin Falls at the ribbon cutting ceremonies for its new Innovation and Community Center on Monday.
The 71,000-square-foot facility was designed to be people friendly and environmentally responsible, Hamdi Ulukaya, Chobani founder and CEO, said.
The new center represents a $21 million investment by Chobani.
It houses a large, sun-filled space for town hall meetings, meals, relaxation and celebrations. It includes a large cafeteria, a well-furnished employee fitness center and a faith center for prayer, meditation and reflection.
“It is so important that we invest as much time, energy and dedication to the well-being of our people as we do our products,” Ulukaya said.
The new center makes Chobani more connected to its employees, the community and the planet, he said.
“That was our vision from the very beginning, and I am thrilled this center will serve as a bridge to Chobani’s exciting and bold future,” he said.
The new center also serves as home for Chobani’s global research and development center. The company has expanded its research and development team and will continue to grow the team as it expands its efforts to be a food-focused wellness company.
“We want this place to be innovative,” a place where science-minded people can come to play, collaborate and nourish, Ulukaya said.
Chobani’s goal is to make delicious, nutritious food available for the masses, he said.
He sees the Magic Valley as a leader in food innovation and the center as “the new beginning for us,” he said.
Chobani is known for yogurt, but the company will be rolling out other products in January, he said.
Ulukaya said he was honored and relieved to be cutting the ribbon on the new center after three delays in building it due to other projects.
He thanked Idaho Gov. Brad Little, city and county officials, Chobani’s team leaders and employees, the building contractors and “hard-working Idahoans” for the support that’s made Chobani’s success in Idaho possible.
“Everything we’ve done here has been teamwork,” and Chobani has been an amazing partner, Little said.
Chobani built the world’s largest yogurt plant in Twin Falls in 2012. It employs more than 700 people and contributes to more than 8,000 indirect jobs in Idaho, according to the company.
The company also has yogurt plants in New Berlin, N.Y., and South Victoria, Australia, and processes 1.6 billion pounds of milk a year in Idaho and New York.
Chobani’s dollar sales growth year to date is 7.5% compared with the same period in 2018. Its volume growth in pounds of yogurt is 6.9% year to date.