Fairlife milk

By Charlyn Fargo

The dairy industry has a surprising new partner pushing healthy milk – Coca Cola.

Coke has partnered with an Indiana dairy farm, called Fair Oaks to create Fairlife milk. The milk is created through a method called ultra-filtration — a process invented by Mike and Sue McCloskey, owners of Fair Oaks in Indiana. It’s now on local grocery shelves.

Fair Oaks is part of Select Milk Producers Inc., a coop founded by the McCloskey family. The co-cop is the source of the milk and technology, and Coca-Cola is in charge of marketing and advertising. More farmers might want to take a look at the possibilities similar partnerships offer.

In the case of Fairlife milk, the process used to make the milk is similar to the process used to make skim milk. Filters separate the components of milk — such as water, lactose and proteins. Then more favorable components, such as calcium, are added, while other components are removed. The result is that Fairlife is lactose free and has 50 percent more protein, 30 percent more calcium and 50 percent less sugar than regular milk.

A similiar process is used make Coke’s Core Power, a drink marketed to athletes that has even more protein and calcium than Fairlife milk.

The national rollout of Fairlife marks Coca-Cola’s entry into the milk case in the U.S. and is one way the world’s biggest beverage maker is diversifying its offerings as Americans continue turning away from soft drinks. It also comes as people increasingly seek out some type of functional boost from their foods and drinks, whether it’s more fiber, antioxidants or protein. That has left the door open for Coke step into the milk category, where the differences between options remain relatively minimal and consumption has been declining for decades.

Sue McCloskey, who developed the system used to make Fairlife with her husband Mike, said Fairlife will be marketed more broadly to women who are the “gatekeepers” for their families’ nutritional needs.

“As dairy farmers and parents of four, we believe that milk could and should be even better,” Sue McCloskey said. “With Fairlife, we’re bringing families everywhere great-tasting, convenient, high-quality, simple nutrition from real food.”

“We know people want food to be real, less processed and come from a source they can trust,” said Mike. “Fairlife is brought to you by a group of dedicated dairy farmers that put great care of everything they do. It comes from a sustainable source that traceable from grass to glass. As a result we are setting a new standard for milk.”

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