Fairlife: Premium Milk

Seeing opportunity to revive a flagging market, an Indiana-based dairy co-op and Coca Cola team up to make and promote a new type of milk.

By Gigi Douban

While overall dairy consumption in North America has been rising, milk’s numbers have been flat or on the decline. “One of the challenges that dairy has had is that it’s viewed as a commodity,” says Chris Galen, spokesman for the National Milk Producers Federation.

Fairlife premium milk

Fairlife premium milk

Enter a new venture between Coca-Cola and a group of dairy farmers to launch Fairlife, a product that is said to be a “premium” milk. According to some dairy industry analysts, it contains more of the stuff people want out of milk—protein and calcium—and less of the not-so-good—there’s 50% less sugar and it’s lactose-free.

The operation’s flagship farm is in Fair Oaks, Ind. Fairlife cofounder Mike McCloskey, a former veterinarian, founded a dairy farm cooperative of 92 families that supplies milk to Fairlife. The company says its farms use sustainable techniques, including growing their own crops, not mixing their milk with that of other dairies for better traceability, and, in some cases, converting methane from cow manure to power their dairies.

Fairlife retails in the $4 range for a 52-ounce bottle, and it’s being rolled out across the U.S. “We are closing in on probably about 70% availability in the U.S.,” says Anders Porter, spokesman for Fairlife. Porter says the company hopes to announce Canadian distribution soon. It does require refrigeration, though the company calls it “extended shelf life” milk, as it’s good for 90 days, compared to about two weeks for regular milk.