Coca-Cola acquires remaining stake in value-added dairy joint venture

The Coca-Cola Company has 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 previous 42.5% minority stake. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed in the deal, which was struck last week on Friday, January 3.

fairlife LLC, 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.

fairlife will continue to operate as a stand-alone business based in Chicago, in the US, the American soft drink giant confirmed.

fairlife CEO Tim Doelman commented on the move, stating: “We are excited for the next chapter of fairlife’s growth and innovation and look forward to continuing to work with our partners across the Coca-Cola system to meet fast-changing consumer needs in a vibrant category.

“We set out in 2012 to harness the power and nutrition of dairy and give people great-tasting products that provide the nutrition they are looking for. Our innovative product lines will continue to grow and improve with the strength and scale of The Coca-Cola Company.”

‘Growing category’

Value-added dairy products have been “growing steadily in the US, in contrast to the traditional fluid milk category, with great-tasting, nutrient-dense fairlife milk products playing a significant role in that growth”, according to Coca-Cola.

fairlife ultra-filtered milk debuted in 2014, and sales have “grown sharply” since then, with “strong double-digit growth each year since launch”, Coca-Cola claims.

According to Nielsen AMC, fairlife surpassed $500 million in retail sales last year, in 2019.

fairlife’s continued growth has been supported by new product innovation, the drinks giant states, including: lactose-free, ultra-filtered milk “with less sugar and more protein than competing brands”; and high-protein recovery and nutrition shakes and drinkable snacks.

Jim Dinkins, president of Coca-Cola North America, said:

fairlife is a great example of how we’re continually expanding our total beverage portfolio to bring people more of the brands they love.

“This agreement will help ensure that we continue to build on fairlife’s innovative history by combining their entrepreneurial spirit and innovation capabilities with the resources, reach and expertise of Coca-Cola.”