The founder and CEO of Greek yogurt company Chobani has opened a $21 million research and development center in south-central Idaho.
Hamdi Ulukaya said at a ribbon-cutting on Monday in Twin Falls that he’s relieved the 71,000-square-foot (6,600-square meter) facility is up and running. It’s been in use since June.
“I’m grateful for the bond we share with the people of the Magic Valley,” Ulukaya said. “It is so important that we invest as much time, energy and dedication to the well-being of our people as we do our products. This new Innovation & Community Center makes us more connected to our people, our plant and to our community.”
Republican Idaho Gov. Brad Little attended the event and praised Ulukaya for his commitment to the state.
“Chobani has worked hard to make itself an integral part of the Magic Valley community,” Little said. “Chobani’s latest investment in its state-of-the art Innovation & Community Center underscores its commitment to Idaho. We are grateful to the leadership and employees at Chobani for their continued dedication to excellence, which only serves to help us in our goal to make Idaho a place where our children and grandchildren choose to stay.”
Designed by local architects and engineers, Idaho-based design firm CSHQA, and inspired by the beauty of the Magic Valley, the facility will fuel “a future of creativity and collaboration, inspiring new yogurt and non-yogurt creations,” according to a release from Chobani.
Chobani has registered the Center with the goal of U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Silver certification. The facility includes features that increase energy efficiency, reduce waste and improve recycling practices.
The company opened a $450 million, 1 million-square-foot (93,000-square-meter) yogurt plant in Twin Falls in 2012. The company has about $1.5 billion in sales annually.
According to Chobani, the company’s partnership with Twin Falls and Idaho has “helped fuel significant economic growth,” including a reduction in the area unemployment rate from 6.9% to 2.8% from 2012 to 2019. The yogurt giant’s presence in Twin Falls contributes to over 8,000 indirect jobs in Idaho.