Coca-Cola acquires remaining stake in fairlife

Sales have grown sharply since company launched in 2014, with strong double-digit growth each year.

January 3, 2020

2 Min Read
fairlife coca cola.jpg
Coca Cola

The Coca-Cola Co. announced Jan. 3 that it 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, but the companies said fairlife will continue to operate as a stand-alone business based in Chicago, Ill.

Launched in 2012, fairlife LLC 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.

“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,” fairlife chief executive officer Tim Doelman said. “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 Co.”

Growing category

According to the companies, in contrast to the traditional fluid milk category, value-added dairy products have been growing steadily in the U.S., with great-tasting, nutrient-dense fairlife milk products playing a significant role in that growth.

Fairlife's ultra-filtered milk debuted in 2014, and sales have grown sharply since then, with strong double-digit growth each year since launch. According to Nielsen AMC, fairlife surpassed $500 million in retail sales last year.

The company’s continued growth has been supported by new product innovations ranging from lactose-free, ultra-filtered milk with less sugar and more protein than competing brands to high-protein recovery and nutrition shakes and drinkable snacks.

The brand also has been supported by the reach of Coca-Cola’s U.S. system, with products distributed both through the Minute Maid distribution system as well as by Coca-Cola bottlers across the country.

In 2018, fairlife also launched in Canada and will begin local production and sourcing in Ontario in the spring of 2020. It also continues to expand production capability in the U.S. by complementing production in Coopersville, Mich., and Waco, Texas, with a new facility that's under construction in Goodyear, Ariz.

Coca-Cola North America president Jim Dinkins 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.”

A Q&A session with company leaders Doelman and Dinkins discussing the transaction, consumers and the reports of animal abuse that occurred last year can be found here.

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