Coca-Cola signs deal to distribute Core Power high-protein milkshake brand in U.S. beginning in July; product will be stocked in roughly 10,000 outlets, up from 600 currently, by end of fall, executive says

LOS ANGELES , June 20, 2012 () – Coca-Cola Co. has signed a distribution deal with Fair Oaks Farms Brands Inc. to distribute the company’s Core Power high-protein milkshake brand in the U.S. beginning in July, The Wall Street Journal reported June 20.

The brand, which was called Athletes HoneyMilk, is owned by a cooperative comprised of almost 90 family-owned dairies.

By this fall, approximately 10,000 convenience, grocery, and specialty stores will stock Core Power, up from the roughly 600 outlets that currently do so, Fair Oaks Farms Brands CEO Stephen Jones said. Fair Oaks Farms Brands groups together dairies from across New Mexico, the Midwest and Texas.

Thus far this year, Fair Oaks Farms has sold approximately 4 million bottles of Core Power, Jones said.

The product was first launched on a test basis in Texas in 2009. Since then, it has also been introduced to markets in Colorado. Coke initially intends to expand Core Power’s distribution network into Indiana, Illinois and Arizona, Jones added. Before leaving Coke in 2003, he served as the company’s chief marketing officer.

Using a patented filtration system, Fair Oaks Farms removes lactose and increases the amount of protein in milk used to make its Core Power brand. The company adds monk fruit in order to sweeten the product in a bid to appeal to consumers’ growing demand for all-natural products.

Core Power comes in a variety of flavors including chocolate, honey, strawberry banana and vanilla. It is sold in 11.5-ounce plastic bottles that have a retail price of approximately US$3.

Coke, which does not currently have an equity stake in Fair Oaks Farms, declined to comment when asked if it intended to purchase a stake in the company in the future.

This is Coke’s first domestic foray into the dairy products market, although it does sell dairy-based products outside of the U.S.

Annually, the U.S. muscle-recovery and strength-building protein aid market is worth approximately US$2 billion annually, with roughly $500 million going toward protein beverages, Jones estimated.

The primary source of this article is The Wall Street Journal, New York, New York, on June 20, 2012.

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