Milk Money

Coca-Cola wants 'premium' milk to be the next big thing

When Coca-Cola started selling protein-enhanced milk last year, the incongruency of a soda giant selling the world's most wholesome beverage caught people's attention. But with sales for carbonated beverages falling dramatically and Coke's profits following suit, the company's move was "paramount," The Huffington Post says.

In an article published today, Bloomberg takes stock of the company's plans for what it calls "designer milk." Could this specialized milk not only save the soda giant but the dairy-based milk industry, too? It appears Coca-Cola is banking on it.

"We look at milk, honestly, as one of nature's superfoods," Melanie Kahn, vice president for marketing at Fairlife, tells Bloomberg.

Coca-Cola is a partner in dairy company Fairlife and isn't involved with the production phase at all. The company takes a "hands-off approach to the partnership," Scott Uzzell, president and general manager for Coke's Venturing & Emerging Brands group, tells Bloomberg. "They know dairy better than anybody," Uzzell says. "We know consumers."

And that's where the partnership hinges.

Though it seems like an odd match, the cow-milk industry needs help, too. With more people choosing soy and almond milk, and fewer people eating breakfast cereal, dairy-based milk sales have also fallen significantly in recent years.

Coca-Cola thinks its consumer knowledge and research capabilities can help Fairlife put cow milk back on the American table and, in turn, save itself from declining interest in soda. It's too early to tell whether the partnership becomes a great American success story or just another failed relationship.