Darigold Inc. announced this week that it is investing $67 million in its Boise, Ida., facility to expand production of its FIT milk product, which boasts 75% more protein and 40% less sugar compared to traditional milk. Launched in the Pacific Northwest market last year, FIT has doubled in sales and distribution over the past six months.
FIT was developed in response to consumer trends that demand “better-for-you” products that are also delicious and convenient, the company said. Using ultrafiltration, FIT is designed to give consumers the taste they want while being lactose free and high in protein without introducing anything artificial. Darigold recently broadened the FIT product line to include whole milk, as well as offering 2% white milk and 2% chocolate milk.
“FIT was inspired by our farmer-owners’ desire to revitalize fluid milk. They, more than anyone, know Darigold must provide consumers with new and relevant types of milk that preserve the wholesome and nutritious foundation that makes milk great in the first place,” said Duane Naluai, Darigold senior vice president who was behind this new product: The positive consumer response we have received gives us confidence that FIT is bringing consumers back to fluid dairy.”
The investment in Boise will not only expand FIT but will also serve as a platform for re-launching other classic Darigold beverages. “We will deliver a better package for both our consumers and channel partners,” Naluai said.
The investment includes a major capacity expansion as well as modern aseptic packaging to produce FIT as a shelf-stable product that can be shipped and stored without refrigeration. This project will generate 15 new positions in Boise. It will also reduce Darigold’s environmental footprint as it relates to water use, plastic, corrugated material and overall energy use, the company said.
The first production run using the shelf-stable packaging is anticipated for fall of 2020, marking the first of its kind in the Northwest.
“It’s an exciting time for dairy, as innovation is inspiring increased demand among consumers,” said Karianne Fallow, chief executive officer of Dairy West, representing and sponsoring dairy across Idaho and Utah. “Darigold FIT is a great example of the kind of new thinking that is revitalizing dairy, and we’re proud of the investment Darigold has chosen to make.”