Greek yogurt company Chobani opened the world's largest yogurt manufacturing plant on Monday in Twin Falls, Idaho, a 1-million-square-foot plant situated on a 200-acre site that cost the company $450 million to build in under a year.
The new facility will produce innovative yogurt products and will employ more than 300 workers, with additional hires planned for 2013, according to Chobani.
"Today marks not only the opening of the world’s largest yogurt plant, but symbolizes the revitalization of U.S. manufacturing," said Chobani Founder and President Hamdi Ulukaya in a press release. "We believe that no other yogurt facility is comparable to the size, technology, and efficiency displayed in our new Twin Falls site."
The new plant is the company's second yogurt manufacturing facility, the first being located in New Berlin, N.Y.
The company was founded in 2005. Ulukaya, a Turkish immigrant, purchased a closing Kraft Foods factory in upstate New York, hired former Kraft "yogurt masters" and two years later launched the Chobani brand to immediate success.
The New York-based company has grown immensely over the past five years and generated $650 million-plus in sales in 2011.
In addition to Chobani's standard yogurt cups, the new facility will be producing several new products, such as the "Chobani Champions Tube," a two-ounce portion of low-fat Chobani Greek yogurt with fruit purée in a tube, allowing a spoon-less experience for the consumer.
The plant will also be producing "Chobani Bites," miniature cups of yogurt that consist of 100 calories or less and are sold in a cluster of four. The flavors for the "Chobani Bites" have yet to be announced, says Ulukaya, but promising they "will have some kind of a bite to them."
A third new product for the Twin Falls plant is the "Chobani Flip," a square package that contains granola, dried fruits, nuts, and other ingredients that can be mixed into one's yogurt.
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