New York-based Chobani revealed in 2012 that it had begun preparations to build a Greek yogurt manufacturing plant in Canada. The announcement followed an October 2011 decision by the Canadian government to grant Chobani two short-term permits to import its products from the US.
The consecutive permits - a three month Test Permit and an additional 12 month Bridging Permit – were granted by the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs International Trade (DFAIT) to support Chobani’s supply of the Greater Toronto Area while a manufacturing facility was built in the country.
Speaking with DairyReporter.com, Chobani communications manager Cristina Dennstedt revealed that a series of factors have so far prevented it from moving forward with its launch plans.
Dennstedt added, however, that the company remains “committed to the Canadian market.”
“Unable to move forward”
“Since Chobani first launched in the Greater Toronto Area in November 2011, we have received overwhelming support from all levels of Canadian government, our retail partners and our incredible fans,” said Dennstedt.
“However, our future plans require a fair amount of logistical work, which we continued to work through. Due to circumstances outside of our control, we are unable to move forward with our national launch plans at this time. Regardless, we remain committed to the Canadian market and giving Canadian consumers the choice they deserve in the yogurt aisle,” Dennstedt added.
Through the October 2011-granted permits, Chobani is currently able to meet Canadian demand for its Greek yogurt products. These permits, however, are set to expire in February 2013.
It is unclear at the moment whether these permits will be extended.
DairyReporter.com pressed Chobani on the issue, but the New York-based Greek yogurt giant declined to comment.
Canadian market difficulties
Chobani’s attempt to enter the Canadian market has not been as easy as they may have hoped.
In August 2012, the Canadian Federal Court was forced to dismiss efforts by a number of rival yogurt firms to keep Chobani Greek yogurt off shelves in the country.
Yogurt manufacturers Danone, Ultima Foods and AgroPur launched a legal challenge in an effort to force a judicial review of the government’s October 2011 decision to issue import permits allowing Chobani to import its Greek-style yogurt products from the US.
The firms claimed that the permits contravened Canadian dairy industry supply management regulations. They also voiced their concerns that they could be left at a competitive disadvantage as a result of the permits.
The lawsuit was, however, dismissed on the grounds that the permits would not cause Danone, Ultima Foods or AgroPur “direct prejudice.”