Coca-Cola Co. on Jan. 3 announced that it acquired the remaining stake in Fairlife LLC from its joint venture partner Select Milk Producers. Coca-Cola now owns 100% of Fairlife, up from its 42.5% stake. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Fairlife, which launched in 2012, started with a high-protein milk shake called Core Power and has grown to offer a broad portfolio of products in the fast-growing value-added dairy category in North America. Its specialty has been filtered concentration of milk, providing higher levels of protein and lower levels of sugar and fat. Fairlife will continue to operate as a stand-alone business based in Chicago.
Select Milk Producers is a dairy cooperative that started out in New Mexico but has grown a national footprint with a number of subsidiaries. It's the main supplier of milk to Fairlife.
Value-added dairy has been a growing category in the U.S. and is an interesting tangent for Coca-Cola. Fairlife ultra-filtered milk debuted in 2014, and sales have grown by double digits every year since. According to Nielsen AMC figures supplied by Coca-Cola, Fairlife surpassed $500 million in retail sales last year.
Fairlife also has grown through new product innovation, expanding from its filtered milks to high-protein recovery and nutrition shakes and drinkable snacks. It's also been supported by the reach of Coca-Cola’s U.S. system, with products distributed both through the Minute Maid distribution system and Coca-Cola bottlers across the country.
The brand is being manufactured in Coopersville, Mich., and Waco, Texas, with a new facility under construction in Goodyear, Ariz.
“Fairlife is a great example of how we’re continually expanding our total beverage portfolio,” said Jim Dinkins, president of Coca-Cola North America.