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January 6, 2020

Coca-Cola takes full ownership of dairy business Fairlife

US-based drinks giant The Coca-Cola Co. has taken full ownership of its milk beverages venture set up in 1994.

By Dean Best

The Coca-Cola Co. has acquired an additional stake in Fairlife to give the US-based drinks giant full ownership of the milk beverages company.

New York-listed Coca-Cola said it has taken its share in Fairlife to 100% from 42.5% after buying up the additional holding from its business venture with Select Milk Producers. Financial details were not disclosed in a statement.

Fairlife was founded by Mike and Sue McCloskey in 2012 as a partnership with Coca-Cola and dairy cooperative Select Milk Producers, set up in 1994 by the McCloskeys.

Located in Chicago, Illinois, Fairlife produces a range of ultra-filtered fresh milk drinks and flavoured milk beverages such as its Yup brand and protein shakes under its Core Power line. 

“Fairlife’s continued growth has been supported by new product innovation ranging from delicious 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 statement noted.

Fairlife entered the Canadian market in 2018 and is due to begin local production in Ontario by the coming spring. In the US, the company is building a new facility in Goodyear, Arizona, adding to its two other facilities in Coopersville, Michigan, and Waco in Texas. 

Jim Dinkins, the president of Coca-Cola’s North American division, 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.” 

Coca-Cola said it supports distribution of Fairlife’s products through its Minute Maid system and also bottlers for the US drinks firm across the country.

Fairlife chief executive Tim Doelman added: “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. Our innovative product lines will continue to grow and improve with the strength and scale of The Coca-Cola Company.”  

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