By Mark Boshnack Staff Writer
The Daily Star
---- — Chobani yogurt has been chosen by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for a pilot program to serve Greek yogurt in school lunches, according to a media release from three federal legislators.
Sens. Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, and Rep. Richard Hanna led the effort to bring the pilot program to state schools and for it to include local New York yogurt producers, their Friday media release said. Schools in Tennessee, Idaho, and Arizona are also participating in the program that begins in September.
The pilot program will test the cost effectiveness of offering high-protein Greek yogurt in school lunch programs, which feeds 31 million students monthly nationwide. Compared to regular yogurt, Greek yogurt has twice the protein, less sodium and fewer carbohydrates.
If successful, Greek yogurt could become a permanent fixture on the USDA Foods List for school meals, according to the release.
“We strongly believe that everyone, especially kids, should have access to simple, delicious, nourishing foods so we are thrilled to bring our authentic, strained Greek Yogurt to K-12 schools as part of the USDA’s pilot program,” Chobani Chief Communications Officer Nicki Briggs said.
“Today’s news is fantastic for Chobani, a great New York company whose product will now be tested in school lunch programs in four different states,” said Schumer. Starting this school year, students across the state will be balancing New York-made Chobani Greek yogurt on their lunch trays and I am proud that this pilot has come to fruition.”
“Greek yogurt like Chobani is packed with healthy protein that our schoolchildren deserve access to in their school lunches,” Gillibrand said. “I am pleased with the USDA’s selection and look forward to building on this promising initiative.”
“This is a nutritious and healthy option for our children, and I am pleased that Chenango County’s own Chobani will be in school cafeterias,” Hanna said.