Within the framework of a pilot program for the 2013-14 school year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has been seeking bidders to supply Greek yogurt for the National School Lunch Program in New York as well as in three other states.
Schools in Arizona, Idaho and Tennessee will also take part in the same program, which seems to be open to Greek yogurt suppliers anywhere in the country.
U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., stated, “I am proud to see this pilot plan reach this final step, because it’s great for New York yogurt and the dairy industry, and it’s beneficial for the health of our kids.”
According to Schumer’s announcement in January, he successfully petitioned the USDA to experiment with the use of Greek — or strained — yogurt, which is richer in protein than regular yogurt which is already consumed at schools. The USDA is asking vendors to bid on supplying 4-ounce and 32-ounce containers.
Two of the four states, New York and Idaho, are major Greek yogurt producers. New York is home to Greek yogurt processing plants operated by Chobani, Fage, Alpina, Muller, Quaker and others. Moreover, Idaho is home to the world’s largest Greek yogurt processing plant, which was opened by Chobani last December.
According to Schumer, if the pilot program is financially beneficial, it could be expanded nationwide.