Whole Foods Gives Chobani the Boot Over GMO Animal Feed

Where are all the hip, organic yogurt products at?

(Photo: Provisions/Flickr)

Dec 18, 2013· 1 MIN READ
Willy Blackmore is TakePart’s Food editor.

When Whole Foods opened its first Brooklyn location this week, set above the toxic Superfund site known as the Gowanus Canal, many jokes were made about the grocery store selling vinyl records in addition to groceries.

So indie. Very Brooklyn.

The grocer’s newfound hipster cred appears to be extending to the yogurt aisle, where the nation’s No. 1 Greek yogurt brand is about to get the boot, making way for more organic and non-GMO products. Starting next year, Whole Foods will no longer stock Chobani products, which are made from the milk of cows fed with genetically modified grain.

What will be filling the shelf space vacated by the totally mainstream yogurt brand? The coolest indie yogurts, naturally.

"As the national demand for Greek yogurt has grown, the number of conventional Greek yogurt options has multiplied," the company said in a statement. "Whole Foods Market challenged its Greek yogurt suppliers to create unique options for shoppers to enjoy—including exclusive flavors, non-GMO options and organic choices."

Which is basically the grocery chain equivalent of Arcade Fire suggesting a dress code for fans at the band’s shows. Be more cool, yogurt companies.

Back in March, Whole Foods announced that it would label all GMO products carried at its stores by 2018. Working with partners on verification issues and giving its more than 100,000 suppliers the opportunity (and time) to shift to non-GMO ingredients is a significant undertaking. When the plan was announced, however, Whole Foods made no suggestion that the goal was to push out GMO products, and the three-month update posted to the corporate blog in June focused on planning and process more than anything.

But moving to Brooklyn can change people like that.