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Chobani: Go Real? Get Real!

By Published On: 9 March 2013Last Updated: 17 January 2017

Dear Chobani: Using "real," "pure," and "simple" to describe something does not mean you get to omit the rest of the story.

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Chobani: Go Real? Get Real!

By Daria Zeoli, Editorialist

Chobani’s new campaign is another example of dressing the truth up in a feel-good package of lies of omission. “Go Real” is their motto, and in giant, obnoxious words on their website, you’ll find the following statement:


In a one-minute video, the founder of Chobani weighs in:

Hamdi Ulukaya makes some incredible statements in this piece:

  • “Milk is a gift from nature, right? It comes to us as good as nature can give us.” No, milk is not a gift from nature. It’s stolen from a cow and from her calf, who it was intended for. It comes to cows as good as nature can give them.
  • “As the manufacturer, we have to keep the integrity of the ingredients.” There’s no integrity in stealing ingredients. Contrary to what we’ve all been raised to believe, cows do not willingly give us their bodily fluids.
  • “When it’s authentic, when it’s real, you don’t have to say much about it. People will know.” Seeing as you make a dairy product and that industry is built on lies and deceit, people don’t know. Go real? No, I think what you mean is “get real,” because if you’re going to pretend that your yogurt is pure and that the milk you use was willingly bestowed upon you then you’re the farthest from “real” that you can be.
  • “Everyone should be able to enjoy a pure, simple cup of yogurt.” Everyone can enjoy a cup of yogurt. Soy, almond, coconut milk. They’re there. And they’re cruelty-free.

There’s nothing simple about what goes into a container of dairy-based yogurt. Chobani’s website states that they use “only milk from cows not treated with rBST.” No mention is made of where these cows live out their lives, of the potential for painful mastitis, of the calves that head to the veal crates so that customers can keep eating  “authentic, simple” yogurt. According to their blog, it takes more than 30,000 cows to produce a day’s worth of milk for the company. Can we get real about what that means?

Here’s the thing. To me, “real” and “crafted” are kind of polar opposites. For something to be real, it just is. For instance, cow’s milk just is nourishment for a baby cow. For something to be crafted – an ad slogan, for instance – it has to be constructed, manipulated. Not only has Chobani manipulated the reality of what milk is, but they’ve constructed this idyllic vision by using buzzwords that make people feel good and furthering the cover-up of the reality of where food comes from.

Using “real,” “pure,” and “simple” to describe something does not mean you get to omit the rest of the story.

To learn more about why you should dump dairy and then learn how to dump dairy, visit our Vegan Dairy Guide.

This is part of our series, Ad Nauseam– a look at advertising through the ethical vegan lens.


  1. Betty February 12, 2018 at 3:46 pm - Reply

    Rochelle, please don’t gloss over the cruelty in the dairy industry. Any dairy you consume is stolen from a cow and her baby. Her baby is stolen from her and killed. You can’t have milk without a mother.
    I think the chobani company model is amazing as far as how they treat employees and the community. BUT there is no cruelty free way to make dairy products. If they made vegan products I would not hesitate to buy them.

  2. Keenun August 7, 2013 at 6:46 am - Reply

    Love this….it is so true and it is exactly how I feel! The dairy industry is nasty and it breaks my heart. Companies like this are so manipulative….

  3. rochelle bruno April 9, 2013 at 6:46 pm - Reply

    I appreciate your dedication and your frankness. I have been a vegetarian for over 20 years, but yes I do eat dairy: some cheeses, cream for coffee, butter and the such.I have considered myself aware and mindful of the companies I buy from: ie; no growth hormones , family farms and companies in maine where I now live, howeever I do realize that unfortunately most of this isn’t monitored and companies,people can speak very little truth and label it as something it is not. I eat chobani, thinking it was a decent company.

    I recently returned from a friends in CT , who is also vegeratian and her husband and one child is Vegan and she mentioned Chobani and there dairy practices. I did a quick serach and found very little. That doesn’t mean I don’t believe it , I do. I have recently been uncomfortable with my lifetsyle, eating dairy! and have been making small changes. My lame excuse is that where I live In Bangor, Maine area there is so little around here besides the small health food stores where you can purchase products that can accommadate lifestyle choices, I have lived in other states, CA, CT,MA, NYand FL where there are more choices… I know lame and lazy!!!! I will stop supporting chobani, because the reality, no matter what, we shouldn’t be contributing to the torture of animals and we are the only mammals that continue to use milk into adult hood, no I don’t drink milk, never really did, but am stuck on some comforts that dairy is a apart of. I need some suggestions, and how you made some changes.sorry for babbling!

    Thank you for your time and consideration in my matter and the matter of animal welfare.

    Rochelle Bruno

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HELLO! I'm KD Angle-Traegner.

Writer, activist, and founder of Four Urban Paws Sanctuary. I’m on a mission to help people live a vegan life. Read more about KD…