- Associated Press - Thursday, March 17, 2016

TWIN FALLS, Idaho (AP) - Greek yogurt company Chobani plans to invest nearly $100 million in expanding its Idaho factory, already the largest yogurt manufacturing plant in the world.

The New York-based company will begin producing yogurt-based dip and drinkable yogurt products at the Twins Falls factory this summer, reported the Times-News (http://bit.ly/1PdNRNE ). Chobani says it will incrementally invest the $100 million in the plant.

The expansion will include new equipment for those upcoming product offerings, the company said Wednesday.

“Building the largest yogurt manufacturing plant in the world and expanding it three years later is a really proud moment for us and an example of how right it was to pick Idaho as our second home,” said Chobani chairman and CEO Hamdi Ulukaya in a statement.

The Twins Falls plant currently employs more than 1,000 people. Nearly 100 of them were hired in the last half of 2015.

Chobani’s building permit covers a nearly $7.9 million addition with packing and filling rooms. The company said it will also build office expansions, an employee cafeteria and a global research and development facility for its Twin Falls scientific team.

In addition to adding production lines for its fast-growing Flip products, Chobani is planning a new bulk production line for food-service opportunities in schools, hotels, airlines and restaurants.

In the second quarter of this year, the company plans to launch products from the facility for international markets, including Mexico.

The statement says the company is also considering expanding its Central New York plant.

“The kind of success that Chobani is experiencing in the Magic Valley is setting a great example of regional collaboration between employers and community leaders throughout Idaho,” said Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter in Chobani’s statement. “And it has economic development leaders all over America standing up and taking notice of what Idaho has to offer.”

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Information from: The Times-News, http://www.magicvalley.com

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