UK: Chobani "unwavering" on Greek interpretation after ban
Chobani was this week told by a High Court judge that the labelling on its product was "confusing"
Chobani has said it remains "unwavering" in its interpretation of the term 'Greek yoghurt' despite losing a UK court battle this week over the labelling of its Greek line.
Following a seven-day trial, which was initiated by a complaint from Greek rival Fage, New York-based Chobani was this week told by a High Court judge the labelling on its product was "confusing" for UK consumers. As a result, Mr Justice Briggs granted a permanent injunction against the US yoghurt producer.
Fage, which produces Total Greek yoghurt, had claimed buyers of "thick and creamy" yoghurt generally believed Greek yoghurt came from Greece and that it mattered to consumers that it was made in the country.
By contrast, Chobani's primary case was that the description Greek yoghurt denoted "no clearly identified distinctive class" in the minds of the yoghurt buying public.
In a statement, Chobani said it was the straining process and not the country of origin that denotes whether the yoghurt should be labelled as Greek.
"We founded our company with the vision to make delicious, nutritious Greek yoghurt available to everyone, and it is this vision that led us to the UK," the company said. "We will persevere to bring British consumers the choice they deserve in the yoghurt aisle and remain deeply committed to giving our loyal UK fans even more great Chobani products and flavours."
Chobani had started selling and promoting its Greek yoghurt in the UK in September last year, until an interim injunction was implemented following Fage's complaint in November.
Nigel Amos, managing director at Fage UK, said of this weeks ruling: "We are delighted with the outcome, not least for consumers. They rightly want to know the heritage of their food - its content, its nature and where it comes from.
"This is entirely in keeping with Fage's philosophy. We have been producing yoghurt in Athens for 87 years and bringing Greek yoghurt into the UK for 30 years. We are hugely proud of our heritage and the authenticity of our products."
The Greek yoghurt trend continues to sweep the US, helping yoghurt packaging to grow by 4% in 2012. No longer is Greek yoghurt a niche product found only in healthfood stores, it is now a mainstream p...
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