Greece’s leading dairy company Fage, locked in a bitter battle with US-Greek style yogurt company Chobani for the yogurt market, said on July 29th it had won a long legal battle in Britain to prevent its competitor from marketing strained yogurt as Greek yogurt.
Britain’s High Court refused to consider further argument from US-based Chobani, which had also lost an appeal against Fage in January, the Greek company said.
“The High Court has ended the ‘Greek yogurt’ case, its decision is final,” Fage said in a statement, according to Agence France-Presse
Chobani, the best-selling yogurt brand in the United States, had argued that the term “Greek yogurt” should be treated as a product description and not as an EU-protected brand.
But Fage, which began legal proceedings against Chobani in 2012 to protect its dominant British market share, insisted that only yogurt made in Greece should be sold as such.
“Chobani is forbidden from selling US-made strained yogurt as Greek in the United Kingdom,” Fage said. Chobani must also pay Fage’s legal fees, the Greek company said.
Founded by Turkish entrepreneur Hamdi Ulukaya, Chobani markets its yogurt as “strained” in Britain and “Greek” in the United States where it took over the market that Fage pioneered, selling Greek yogurt, only to cede dominance because of a failure to market aggressively as Chobani overtook it.
Purists insist that Chobani strained yogurt is not Greek but it has succeeded in convincing Americans that it is, but now faces new competition from France’s Danone and other rivals eager to cash in on the growing desire for the product that is thicker and creamier than American-style watery yogurt.