Hamdi Ulukaya, founder and CEO of America's No. 1 selling Greek Yogurt brand, Chobani, has been named as the Ernst & Young World Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2013 Award winner. Selected from a group of more than 50 country-winners from across the globe for this honour, Ulukaya was recognized for his disruptive innovation to bring wholesome food to the masses; regeneration of a long-stagnant category; financial success; and personal commitment to building a world-class brand.
"I am deeply honoured to receive this award from Ernst & Young and in the company of such amazing fellow business leaders from around the world," said Ulukaya. "What began as just my personal commitment to make delicious and nutritious Greek Yogurt accessible to everyone has turned into a 3,000-person-strong company serving three markets around the world. I look forward to our next 3,000 employees and sharing our food philosophy with even more consumers as we expand into new markets."
Ernst & Young started the Entrepreneur Of The Year® Award program 27 years ago to recognize the world's most successful and innovative entrepreneurs. By identifying and recognizing the achievements of outstanding entrepreneurs within successful growing,
dynamic businesses, Ernst & Young aims to encourage entrepreneurial activity around the world.
After leaving his family's dairy business in Turkey to learn English in the United States, Ulukaya recognized a gap in America's dairy offering and saw opportunity in an untapped market of Greek Yogurt. Chobani was founded in 2005, and it took two years to perfect the
recipe, with the first order shipping in 2007. Since then, Chobani has experienced a meteoric rise with annual sales rocketing to $1 billion in 2012.
To meet growing sales demands in the United States, Chobani updated and expanded an almost 100-year-old plant in Central New York, which uses nearly four million pounds of milk each day to produce two million cases of Chobani Greek Yogurt products a week. In December of 2012, Chobani opened the doors on its second U.S. plant to expand capacity
and support new product innovations. Built in Twin Falls, Idaho, this state-of-the-art plant — at nearly one million square feet — is the largest yogurt plant in the world.