With 'Fairlife,' Coca-Cola Is Getting Into the Premium Milk Business

The soda giant is betting squarely on its new milk product, which contains 50 percent more protein and 50 percent less sugar than normal milk -- at twice the price.

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By Geoff Weiss

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Coca Cola is getting into the milk business.

Amid fizzling soda sales, the beverage giant is readying a national rollout of Fairlife -- a premium milk product with added fiber, antioxidants and protein that will sell for roughly twice the price of normal milk.

Packaged in sleek plastic bottles, Coke believes the drink will appeal to consumers who are increasingly looking for food and beverage products with a nutritional boost. The milk category remains ripe for opportunity, the AP reports, where the current offer is fairly similar and overall consumption has declined for years.

Related: Coke Is Luring Experienced Entrepreneurs to Create New Startups

A 52-ounce bottle of Fairlife will sell for $4.59 at Wal-Mart, Target and Safeway -- and is slated to arrive in coming weeks at all other retailers where milk is sold. Comparatively, a 64-ounce (half gallon) carton of milk normally sells for $2.18. For organic milk, the national average is $3.99, according to the USDA.

Fairlife milk

Fairlife milk
Image credit: Fairlife via Facebook

In a bold statement, Sandy Douglas, Coke's North American president, told the AP that the product has the potential to "rain money."

Fairlife is concocted through the same filtration process used to create skim milk, which can add and remove various components -- ultimately yielding 50 percent more protein, 30 percent more calcium and 50 percent less sugar than traditional milk.

Coca-Cola initially laid the groundwork for its foray into milk after inking a partnership to create products with a dairy cooperative called Select Milk Producers in 2012.

Related: This Clever Marketing Campaign Reversed Coke's 11-Year Decline in Soda Sales

According to marketing experts, Fairlife's novel nutrition proposition and associations with Coca Cola also run the risk of making it an object of ridicule. Stephen Colbert already said on his show, for instance, that "it's like they got Frankenstein to lactate." Ouch.

To avoid these comparisons, the brand is attempting to distance itself from Coca-Cola, the AP reports.

Dairy isn't the only avenue in which Coke has attempted to diversify in recent years. In addition to increasing its stake as the largest shareholder in Keurig Green Mountain last May, the company also purchased a 16.7 percent equity stake in energy drink maker Monster in August.

Related: With Soda Sales Down Anyway, Coke and Pepsi Vow to Promote Healthier Drinks

Geoff Weiss

Former Staff Writer

Geoff Weiss is a former staff writer at Entrepreneur.com.

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