Greek yoghurt supplier Fage has said its legal victory over Chobani will have “significant ramifications” for the UK yoghurt market.
A lengthy legal fight over the term “Greek yoghurt” came to an end this week when three Supreme Court judges ruled an application by Chobani to appeal a previous decision that ‘Greek yoghurt’ had to be made in Greece “does not raise an arguable point of law.”
The dispute began in November 2012, two months after Chobani made its UK debut selling US-made yoghurts described as ‘Greek yoghurt.’ Total brand owner Fage took out an injunction against Chobani and won its case last spring.
Chobani, which announced in November it was temporarily pulling out of the UK, this week said the UK was “not currently a market of strategic focus for us,” adding it was disappointed the Supreme Court “refused to prevent the monopoly on the use of the term Greek yoghurt.”
Meanwhile, Fage UK MD Nigel Amos said: “We are very pleased with the ruling to uphold the permanent injunction, thereby preventing Chobani (and others) from selling yoghurt labelled as ‘Greek yoghurt’ in the UK unless it satisfies all key criteria.” These, he added, are that: it must be made by a straining method; must contain no additives or preservatives; and must be made in Greece.
The ruling had “significant ramifications” because it would stop other non-Greek brands from claiming to make Greek yoghurt, he said.