Coca-Cola Wants Your Milk Business

With soda sales slumping across all categories, thanks to a growing awareness of the health risks from both high fructose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners, it’s not a surprise that soda companies like Coca-Cola are looking for additional revenue sources to make up for lost sales. With beverages the company’s forte, it’s now getting ready to start offering its U.S. customers milk. And not just any milk—really expensive stuff.

According to Coca-Cola, the new milk product, called Fairlife, will be “premiumized” to be more nutritious than conventional milk, all reportedly with a better taste, to boot. And it will also cost you about twice the price of regular milk. But milk sales are also on the decline. So what’s Coca-Cola’s motivation for trying to boost slumping sales with another slow-moving beverage category?

Sandy Douglas, Coca-Cola’s global chief customer officer, told a conference that Fairlife is a joint venture with US dairy farmers that uses “a proprietary milk filtering process that allows you to increase protein by 50%, take sugar down by 30%, and have no lactose,” reports the Guardian.

But at a time when “premium” milk conjures images of idyllic organic farming, will Coca-Cola be able to break into this market with a manipulated conventional milk that’s still loaded with hormones, antibiotics and genetically modified grains?

“We’re going to be investing in the milk business for a while to build the brand, so it won’t rain money in the early couple of years. But like Simply [Coke’s premium fruit juice line], when you do it well, it rains money later,” Douglas says.

Coca-Cola has already begun selling the Fairlife milk in Minnesota, and it’s getting flack for some racy ads with women awkardly “wearing” the milk.

Find Jill on Twitter @jillettinger

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