Bad news, Greek yogurt fans: The Wall Street Journal reports that Chobani yogurt will no longer be on sale at Whole Foods beginning early next year. The culprit responsible for splitting up the health-conscious grocery chain and the popular Greek yogurt brand is Chobani's use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Whole Foods previously announced that it hoped to stop selling all foods that didn't label their inclusion of GMOs by 2018, and it now appears to be getting started early.
Whole Foods wants all GMOs labeled in-store by 2018
Though Chobani advertises the inclusion of only natural ingredients in its yogurt, it also says that some of its yogurt could be made with milk from cows that were given GMOs in their feed — a disclaimer that isn't currently listed on its packaging. According to the Journal, Whole Foods plans to replace Chobani with GMO-free Greek yogurt options that aren't as widely sold, giving it access to more exclusive products. The move away from GMOs will certainly appeal to Whole Foods' customers, but there's not necessarily a benefit beyond that as definitive research still hasn't shown the effects of consuming GMOs or utilizing them for agriculture.
Whole Foods isn't completely cleaning out its yogurt section just yet, though: in a major snub, the grocery chain will continue to carry Fage's Greek yogurt for now, even though it too includes GMOs.
Update: In a statement, Chobani CEO Hamdi Ulukaya says that his company only had a limited partnership with Whole Foods, but that he hopes to continue that partnership in the future. You can read his remarks below.
Though we have very limited distribution within Whole Foods, they have been an important partner of ours over the years. As the number one Greek Yogurt brand in America using only natural ingredients, we share an affinity with Whole Foods and its shoppers. We know our fans love buying our products in their stores and we hope to continue our partnership moving forward.