Greek yogurt traditionalists are fuming over new methods to produce its characteristic thick texture, which they believe violate the product's "standard of identity."
NPR spoke with Hamdi Ulukaya, founder of the successful seven-year-old company Chobani. Today, it's the largest producer of Greek yogurt in the U.S.
Ulukaya is Turkish, but Greece and Turkey share a yogurt-making tradition. Hamdi is critical of those companies that employ short cuts in making products they call Greek yogurt:
"We want to make yogurt the way it was meant to be," he says. His yogurt, he says, is exactly the same as what his mother made by hand back home in Turkey. ...
But Chobani's Ulukaya calls such products cheap imitations. "That ruins the expectation in the consumer's mind of how pure and simple this product is."
Specifically, Ulukaya takes issue with thickening agents some companies use to achieve the same taste and texture as Greek yogurt. NPR spoke with food scientist Erhan Yildiz, who developed an ingredient that can be added to regular yogurt to imitate things like "residual mouth coating," "meltaway" and "jiggle."