- Chobani has produced a special yogurt to honor veterans and is helping to raise $1 million to aid military families, the company announced. Its "Hero Batch, Red, White and Blueberry" Greek yogurt was designed by veterans working at Chobani and is available at retailers nationwide.
- The money raised will go to Operation Homefront, a national nonprofit serving military families with financial assistance and other support, Chobani said. The company said it will contribute $500,000 to the group and then match online donations up to an additional $250,000.
- "We wanted to make something special with one goal: to say thank you to all who have served and to offer support to those who need it," Hamdi Ulukaya, Chobani's founder and CEO, said in a release. "The more we got to know Operation Homefront the clearer it became that organizations like them need the attention of us all, and I’m really proud that these products will feature their name and their incredible work."
Mission-driven food and beverage manufacturers resonate well with consumers, and charitable projects like this one designed to help socially conscious causes are particularly appreciated. In addition, a company like Chobani, which both employs veterans and designed a product to honor them, can show customers that it values social responsibility — and it may earn some additional brand loyalty in return.
Other companies honoring veterans with special products include Budweiser, which debuted a special Freedom Reserve Red Lager last spring on a limited basis. The company said the recipe was inspired by a handwritten recipe found in George Washington's military journal. Made by veteran brewers, the product sported their signatures on the bottles and cans, and a portion of sales went to a nonprofit helping military families with educational scholarships called Folds of Honor.
The London-based Diageo spirits maker brought out a special distilled vodka in time for Memorial Day this year called American Anthem featuring American flags and red, white and blue colors on the label. The company said it would split $1 from each bottle produced between military charities called Operation Gratitude and The Mission Continues. Diageo also went to the trouble of sourcing corn for the product from Indiana and Iowa to show that it wasn't just taking advantage of consumer patriotism.
Still other manufacturers have devised a special food product to benefit a particular charity or group. Cape Cod Potato Chips came out with a special Pink Himalayan Salt & Red Wine Vinegar product in October for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. And while only the bag — and not the chips — was bright pink, the company said it would donate 5% of the proceeds from every purchase to support breast cancer research at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.
Some consumers are likely to purchase the new Chobani yogurt flavor because of its patriotic tie-in, particularly at this time of year. The fact that any donations they make will be matched up to $250,000 by the yogurt company could be an added incentive for shoppers to choose the brand over another one in the highly competitive segment. And, if the variety proves popular, it could be added to the company's Greek yogurt lineup on a permanent basis.