By HELEN DONNELLY
Cornell and Chobani, Inc. are joining forces in a partnership that will promote innovative research in dairy and food science.
Chobani and Cornell announced the partnership Friday, sayingit was made possible by a $1.5-million gift from Chobani to the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. According to Chobani’s communication manager, Lindsay Kos, Cornell was a “top” choice for the partnership.
“This donation is incredibly important to us as innovation is our lifeblood at Chobani. In addition to our robust [research and development] and innovation teams, we seek out the best partners — Cornell as a top example,” Kos said in an email.
“As the market leader, we see this partnership raising the bar for the industry — building new knowledge and developing innovative solutions that will take dairy science to the next level.”
Chobani has more than 2,000 employees globally and grossed more than $1 billion in sales annually, according to a University press release.
According to Kos, one of the reasons why Chobani and Cornell teamed up was because of their previous ties to each other.
“Our partnership with Cornell formalizes, and takes to the next level, longstanding relationships. For years, the Chobani [Research and Development] team has leaned on the advice of Cornell experts, and vice versa,” she said.
In a press release, David Denholm, president and chief operating officer of Chobani, said another reason for the partnership is that both Chobani and Cornell are leaders in their respective fields.
“Today is an exciting day for Chobani — as we formalize and bolster our commitment to food innovation and quality,” Denholm said. “Cornell’s Department of Food Science is one of the leading programs of its kind globally — a match to Chobani’s leading role in Greek yogurt and our mission to bring better food options to everyone.”
According to Prof. Martin Wiedmann, food science, the donation will be used in four areas: teaching, outreach and extension, workforce development and research.
“Chobani’s gift gives us the flexibility to further develop comprehensive program to improve the quality of dairy products,” Wiedmann said.
In addition to supporting research, the donation will also be used to create a training and development program to bolster graduate student research, according to a University press release.
According to Kos, the exact research projects to be conducted have not been decided yet.
“The research endeavors in food and dairy science that we will undertake are still to be defined. But we are confident that we will find innovative solutions to any challenge with the top minds on the job — those at Chobani, matched with those at Cornell,” Kos said. “While we are still defining our research focus areas, we are certainly considering innovation in the dairy industry holistically and exploring every angle — from cow to cup.”
The donation was given as part of the “Cornell Now” campaign, which is an effort to raise $4.75 billion dollars by the University’s sesquicentennial in 2015.