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Criminal charges pending against Ontario raw milk advocates

When provincial agricultural officials in Ontario raided raw milk advocate Michael Schmidt’s farm this past October, they were accompanied by local police. The raid turned into a standoff that ended only when a deal was reached that allowed some samples and computers to be removed, but dropped equipment seizures.

michaelschmidt_406x250

Michael Schmidt

After going through raids and trials for 22 years, Schmidt brings more experience than most to such confrontations. The October raid, however, has resulted in Schmidt and four other Ontario being charged with one count each of obstructing a peace officer.

A warrant for the arrest of George Bothwell of Meaford remains outstanding and the West Grey police public plea for anyone who knows his whereabouts has not helped locate him. Schmidt, Robert Pinnell of Durham, John Schnurr of South Bruce Peninsula, and Enos Martin of Chesley are scheduled to appear in Ontario Court of Justice on Aug 17 for trial.

In addition to the criminal case, Schmidt is defending against civil proceedings in Ontario Superior Court in Newmarket that seek to shutdown both his raw milk distribution and his herd-share operation. Members would be prohibited from encouraging others to drink raw milk.

When Schmidt went to court for that one in March, he had about 300 supporters with him. The court on that day only did some scheduling and set aside some technical issues.

Schmidt was charged in 2006 with multiple counts of both selling and distributing unpasteurized milk and cheese from an unlicensed milk plant and for not following a 1994 order from a public health inspector.

Those charges were eventually dismissed in 2010, but government prosecutors appealed. Schmidt was convicted in 2011 for 13 violations of the Health Promotion Act. He was sentenced to one year of probation and fined $ 9,150.

An Ontario high court judge found cow-share distribution of raw milk does not equate to ownership, which Schmidt claimed satisfied legal requirements. He changed to a farm-share arrangement for shareholders to obtain raw milk.

(To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here.)

Food Safety News

Australian State Restricts Raw ‘Bath’ Milk Sales in Wake of Boy’s Death

Following the death of a 3-year-old boy and hospitalizations of other children last month, the Australian state of Victoria has significantly restricted the sale of raw milk labeled as “bath” milk, which is said to be labeled as such to circumvent Australia’s ban on sales of raw milk for human consumption.

Beginning Jan. 1, all milk sold as “bath” milk in Victoria must either be pasteurized or include a gag-inducing agent to make it taste bitter and discourage consumption, according to ABC News.

Many of the raw-milk products labeled as “bath” milk are sold in containers similar to drinkable milk and placed near drinkable milk in stores, according to the state’s Minister for Consumer Affairs.

Producers of “bath” milk say that the new law came so suddenly that they are not prepared to make the necessary changes, and, in some cases, are not sure how to change their operations to satisfy the new restrictions.

In early December, at least five children in Victoria fell ill and were hospitalized with severe infections from E. coli and Cryptosporidium in connection with consuming Mountain View Organic Bath Milk. One of those children, a 3-year-old boy, died after developing hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), a kidney disease associated with the most severe E. coli infections.

Raw milk is milk that has not been pasteurized to eliminate potentially harmful pathogens. Children, the elderly, and individuals with compromised immune systems are especially vulnerable to pathogens such as E. coli and Cryptosporidium sometimes found in milk.

Food Safety News

MI Raw Milk Cheddar Cheese Recalled for Potential Listeria Risk

Farm Country Cheese House of Lakeview, MI, is recalling about 1,136 pounds of Raw Milk Cheddar because it has the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. The Raw Milk Cheddar was distributed in Michigan, specifically in the Grand Rapids and Detroit metro areas, through retail stores and specialty shops.

The Raw Milk Cheddar in question is packaged under two different labels. The first label will have Farm Country Cheese House logo on the far left-hand side, and the product name (Raw Milk Cheddar) will be written on top of the label. This product is sold as an 8-oz. block.

This product has a “Use By Date” on the back of the cheese. The dates are between Oct. 28, 2015, and Dec. 5, 2015. This label will also have a Julian Date in the lower right-hand corner. These Julian dates are as follows: 14301, 14302, 14308, 14309, 14324, 14325, 14332, 14336, and 14339.

The second label will have Farm Country Cheese House logo on the far left-hand side, and the product name (Raw Milk Cheddar) written in white over a light-blue banner. This label will have the “Use By Date” on the back; it will not have a Julian Date. The “Use By Date” dates are between Oct. 28, 2015, and Dec. 5, 2015. This product will be packaged in 8-oz. blocks and 5-lb. loafs.

No illnesses have been reported to date.

The recall was the result of a routine sampling program by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which revealed that the finished products contained the bacteria. Farm Country Cheese House has ceased production and distribution of the product while FDA and the company continue their investigation into to what caused the problem.

Consumers who have purchased Farm Country Cheese House Raw Milk Cheddar are urged to return it to the place of purchase for a full refund. Consumers with questions may contact the company at (989) 352-7779, or email to [email protected], Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST.

Listeria can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Although healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, Listeria infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women.

Food Safety News

Campylobacter Outbreak in WI Blamed on Raw Milk

A state and local investigation into last September’s Campylobacter jejuni outbreak in Wisconsin ended where it began — at the Durand High School football team dinner, where raw milk from a local farm was served.

After a three-month epidemiological, laboratory and environmental investigation by the Pepin County Health Department and the Wisconsin Division of Public Health, blame for the outbreak was placed on a local farm that supplied milk for the football dinner.

The laboratory and epidemiological investigations by the state and local agencies “determined that consumption of Farm A unpasteurized milk during the Thursday team dinner was associated with the occurrence of Campylobacter jejuni infections among team-affiliated individuals,” states the final, official report on the outbreak.

The report does not identify the farm, but officials were earlier forced to provide it under Wisconsin open records laws to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The newspaper has reported that Farm A is owned by Roland and Diana Reed of the nearby town of Arkansas, just across the Chippewa River about nine miles west of Durand.

The 38 people sickened in association with the outbreak all reported drinking the raw milk, and 71 percent of those only consumed the Reed’s unpasteurized milk, according to the report.

Milk from the Reed’s bulk tank was tested 10 days after the event, and at that time it was negative for Campylobacter and Shiga toxin-producing E. coli, but the report stated that those Sept. 24 samples were “not representative of milk that was served during the team dinner.”

The investigation said bovine manure samples were a better method of detecting bacteria that were present in the milk at the time of the outbreak. From the nine manure samples taken, the outbreak-associated PFGE pattern was identified.

Campylobacter infections commonly occur from eating and drinking contaminated food and water, including unpasteurized milk from infected cows, according to the report. It affects the intestinal tract and is often a cause of bacterial diarrheal illness. Common signs and symptoms of Campylobacter infection include diarrhea (often bloody), cramping, abdominal pain and fever, and, in rare instances, the infections are severe and the bacteria can be isolated from the bloodstream.

The investigation also found that some illnesses among a small number of female volleyball team members, reported from Sept. 18-28, were not related to those who attended the football dinner. The illnesses the girl’s volleyball team experienced at about the same time as the football potluck did not involve diarrheal symptoms.

During the same period, health officials also had to chase down a Pepin County “presumptively positive” case of Bacillus, also known as anthrax. However, it turned out to be another case of Campylobacter.

About 50 people attended the Sept. 18 football dinner, which was held off-campus. It was a potluck-style event, which, in addition to raw milk, is said to have offered a variety of other drinks, including Kool-Aid.

Those who were sickened by Campylobacter ranged in age from 14 to 49 and included 33 students and five coaches. Sixteen of the 38 went to doctors, and 10 were hospitalized. Temperatures as high as 105 degrees F, diarrhea, chills and sweats were the most commonly reported symptoms.

Food Safety News

Wisconsin Names Two Farms That Sourced Raw Milk Linked to Outbreaks

Wisconsin state officials have released the names of two farms that supplied raw milk linked to Campylobacter outbreaks of the past few years.

In September 2014, 38 people were sickened after attending a potluck meal for the Durand High School football team. According to the state Department of Health Services memo released Friday, a farm operated by Roland and Diana Reed of Arkansaw, WI, was the source of the unpasteurized milk served at the meal.

Officials also stated that milk from Schaal Dairy Farm was linked to 16 illnesses that occurred at North Cape Elementary School in Franksville, WI, in 2011.

The information was released following a public record request from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

The newspaper reports that the health department plans to release their report on the Durand outbreak on Monday, following which the state’s Agriculture Department will decide whether to take enforcement action.

Food Safety News

Australian Boy, 3, Dies in E. Coli Outbreak from Raw Milk

A 3-year old boy has died and four other children have fallen ill in an E. coli and Cryptosporidium outbreak linked to raw milk sold by a company based in Victoria, Australia.

The milk, Mountain View Organic Bath Milk, was labeled as being “for cosmetic use only” and “not for human consumption,” as well as “organic, grass-fed, ethical.”

Raw milk is illegal to sell for human consumption in Australia, but labeling it as a cosmetic product allows for it to be sold.

The five children sickened in the outbreak were between 1 and 5 years old. Three children, including the boy who died, developed hemolytic uremic syndrome, a kidney disease associated with severe E. coli infections. The other two children came down with infections from Cryptosporidium, a pathogen that causes vomiting, nausea and stomach cramping.

Victoria’s minister for emergency services has reportedly called for an investigation into raw milk labeling, according to the Guardian. Regulators from around the country are also said to be discussing whether the product should be recalled or even banned.

Mountain View Organic Bath Milk has been sold for four years. These are the first illnesses connected to the product, according to the owner.

Raw milk is milk that has not been pasteurized to eliminate potentially harmful pathogens. Children, the elderly, and individuals with compromised immune systems are especially vulnerable to pathogens such as E. coli and Cryptosporidium sometimes found in milk.

Food Safety News

Will Lactose-Free Fairlife Milk Be Coke’s Next Cash Cow?

Soft-drink giant The Coca-Cola Company will soon be launching a new version of milk branded as Fairlife. The launch is planned for later this month, with sales to begin nationwide next year. “Purely nutritious milk” states the slogan under Fairlife’s name on the containers.

The company’s optimism is riding high for this new lactose-free product, which boasts of containing 50-percent more natural protein, 30-percent more natural calcium, and 50-percent less sugar than ordinary milk.

Sandy Douglas

During a global consumer conference last month, Sandy Douglas, president of Coca-Cola North America, predicted that “it will rain money” once Fairlife gets established in the marketplace. Even so, he acknowledged that it will take considerable investments in the milk business and several years before that happens.

“We’ll charge twice as much for it as the milk we’re used to buying in a jug,” he said during the conference. Conventional prices for milk in a gallon jug vary but typically hover around $ 3.

According to Fairlife’s website, the new product will be sold at a similar price to value-added milks such as organic and lactose-free. It will offer skim and 2-percent milk varieties, plus a sweetened chocolate milk. The calorie count in a glass of 2 percent is 120; in a glass of skim, 80.

“The premiumization of milk” is how Douglas described this new approach to marketing— a challenge to anyone looking at the declining sales of fluid milk in the United States. Back in 1975, when everyone was encouraged to drink three or four glasses a milk a day “for the sake of your health,” per-capita consumption of beverage milk and cream was 262 pounds, according to figures from USDA.

But with increasing concerns about obesity and the adverse health effects of sugar in their diets — along with other beverage options such as flavored water and non-dairy almond and soy milk — Americans are drinking less milk. By 2012, per-capita consumption of beverage milk and cream had fallen to 195 pounds. And, according to some industry gurus, milk sales will continue to drop, which is certainly not a rosy picture for the industry.

So why is Coca-Cola, already seeing overall declines of soft-drink sales in North America, venturing into a marketplace beset with so many obvious challenges? Douglas points to the company’s success with its orange juice brand, Simply, as a good example of how the company can use its marketing knowhow and prowess to capture sales for an already known product “redesigned” to appeal to an ever-growing health-conscious audience.

‘Rising tides lift all boats’

Julia Kadison, CEO of the Milk Processor Education Program (MilkPEP), told Food Safety News in an email that, in today’s increasingly competitive environment, marketing innovation is key to gaining a competitive advantage and keeping consumer attention.

MilkPEP is funded by the nation’s milk processors with the goal of increasing fluid milk consumption.

“The fluid milk category is no exception,” she said. “Consumers want and expect options, and Fairlife provides another one. Coke is well-known for its product and marketing innovation and for reinvigorating mature categories.”

Like Douglas, she cited Simply orange juice as a good example of this.

“Twenty years ago, it was a generic commodity-like offering,” she said “Then Simply came onto the market, and others followed, giving consumers a plethora of choices in terms of product benefits and packaging.”

She also said that Simply and other category innovations have proven that “rising tides lift all boats.” And she predicted that the entrance of Coke’s Fairlife into the fluid milk arena “should be a nice complement” to her organization’s innovative marketing and education campaigns.

How is ‘premiumization’ done?

According to Fairlife’s website, the company, which sources its milk from 90 dairies across the country, has a special proprietary filtration process that allows it to reformulate the milk. The process separates the milk into five key components: water, butterfat, protein, vitamins and minerals and lactose, based on the different molecular shape of each component.

These components are then recombined but in different proportions that what you’d find in ordinary milk. The end result is a lactose-free milk with more protein and calcium and less sugar than ordinary milk.

Another plus, according to the company, is that the milk is chilled to 37 degrees F within three minutes after coming out of the cow, thanks to a special cold filtration system.

In a video about Fairlife, dairy farmer Sue McCloskey refers to consumer interest in healthy products, saying that Fairlife milk is “our first step in providing better nutrition so we can all lead our lives with energy, beauty and vitality.” In another video, she adds courage to the mix.

Business basics

Fairlife was established as a joint venture between Coca-Cola and dairy co-op Select Milk Producers, the company behind Core Power. Select Milk Producers describes itself as “a group of large dairy producers with high quality milk and efficient dairy farm operations.”

Fairlife milk was tested in three markets — Minneapolis, Denver and Chicago. Fairlife spokesperson Melanie Kahn said that those test markets were successful and “have led us to believe there’s a good opportunity to drive growth in the milk category through our compelling new innovation.”

The question of food safety

To begin with, Fairlife’s milk is pasteurized, which means foodborne pathogens such as E. coli, Campylobacter and Salmonella are killed. According to the company’s answers to frequently asked questions, unlike ordinary milk, which is pasteurized at a high temperature for 15-20 seconds, Fairlife’s milk is pasteurized at an even higher temperature for less time. This, the company states, gives its milk a much longer shelf life when it’s unopened. Once opened, its shelf life is the same as ordinary milk.

Out in the marketplace, food safety comes into the picture when considering whether Fairlife will provide consumers who prefer raw milk, which is not pasteurized, with an option that differs from conventional milk.

Many raw-milk consumers say they choose raw milk because their systems can’t tolerate the lactose in conventional milk. Others say they get allergic reactions from drinking conventional milk because the enzymes and bacteria killed during pasteurization remain in the milk as dead cells, which can trigger allergies.

It was not clear whether Fairlife’s filtration process can filter out these “dead cells.”

Mark McAfee, owner of Organic Pastures, the largest raw-milk dairy in the United States, doesn’t expect Fairlife to give raw milk “a run for our money.”

When considering the relatively high price for Fairlife milk, McAfee said that consumers looking for alternatives to conventional milk will likely reach for raw milk, which is also higher priced than conventional milk.

“It’s a dead-end venture,” he said. “Our core consumer wants unprocessed, whole, delicious, easy-to-digest full-fat raw milk from a farmer they know and trust.”

But Greg Miller, chief scientific officer for the National Dairy Council and who is known as “Doctor Dairy,” sees a bright future for Fairlife.

“I think it will be very successful,” he said. “It tastes like traditional milk without the sweetness you find in other lactose-free milks.”

Miller also said there’s no good science behind claims that what some refer to as “dead cells” in pasteurized milk are what cause milk allergies. And while milk is one of the top allergens for very young children, he said that many of them outgrow the allergies.

What about organic milk?

Oregon dairy farmer Jon Bansen, a member of, and spokesman for, Organic Valley, said he doesn’t think people will abandon organic milk for Fairlife. But even so, he conceded that Coke has a formidable marketing and distribution system.

Referring to the inexpensive ingredients in Coca-Cola and the generally low prices conventional dairy farmers get for their milk, Bansen said that, “What Coke is saying is, ‘What else can we buy cheap and make expensive?’”

Bansen also said that he doesn’t anticipate seeing Fairlife taking over the organic market “until its cows are raised on pasture.”

According to USDA standards, milk that’s sold as organic must come from cows that graze on pasture for the full length of the local grazing season. While the grazing season must last at least 120 days, in many areas it will be much longer.

The organic rules also say that animals must get at least 30 percent of their food from pasture during the grazing season.

While Fairlife states that its cows have access to shelter 24/7, the company doesn’t say anything about how long they’re actually out on pasture each year.

Bansen said the high cost of Fairlife milk might actually nudge consumers over to organic milk, which generally costs more than conventional milk but less than raw milk.

The average price of a gallon of conventional milk is $ 3. On average, a gallon of organic milk costs $ 6. The average price of a gallon of organic raw milk is $ 14. At stores, Organic Pastures’ raw milk sells for about $ 18 a gallon; at the farm, a gallon is $ 12 to walk-in customers and about $ 14 at farmers markets.

Those pin-up girls

Coke ran into a barrage of public outrage, some of it international, over an original advertising scheme that featured pin-up girls scantily clad in “a splash of milk.” One article described the campaign as “heinously sexist.”

The company says it has moved on.

“The pin-ups advertising may have been eye-catching, but we’re taking a totally new approach,” asserts the Fairlife website. “That campaign was retired in June and we’re super excited about what’s to come.”

 

 

 

 

Food Safety News

Will Lactose-Free Fairlife Milk Be Coke’s Next Cash Cow?

Soft-drink giant The Coca-Cola Company will soon be launching a new version of milk branded as Fairlife. The launch is planned for later this month, with sales to begin nationwide next year. “Purely nutritious milk” states the slogan under Fairlife’s name on the containers.

The company’s optimism is riding high for this new lactose-free product, which boasts of containing 50-percent more natural protein, 30-percent more natural calcium, and 50-percent less sugar than ordinary milk.

Sandy Douglas

During a global consumer conference last month, Sandy Douglas, president of Coca-Cola North America, predicted that “it will rain money” once Fairlife gets established in the marketplace. Even so, he acknowledged that it will take considerable investments in the milk business and several years before that happens.

“We’ll charge twice as much for it as the milk we’re used to buying in a jug,” he said during the conference. Conventional prices for milk in a gallon jug vary but typically hover around $ 3.

According to Fairlife’s website, the new product will be sold at a similar price to value-added milks such as organic and lactose-free. It will offer skim and 2-percent milk varieties, plus a sweetened chocolate milk. The calorie count in a glass of 2 percent is 120; in a glass of skim, 80.

“The premiumization of milk” is how Douglas described this new approach to marketing— a challenge to anyone looking at the declining sales of fluid milk in the United States. Back in 1975, when everyone was encouraged to drink three or four glasses a milk a day “for the sake of your health,” per-capita consumption of beverage milk and cream was 262 pounds, according to figures from USDA.

But with increasing concerns about obesity and the adverse health effects of sugar in their diets — along with other beverage options such as flavored water and non-dairy almond and soy milk — Americans are drinking less milk. By 2012, per-capita consumption of beverage milk and cream had fallen to 195 pounds. And, according to some industry gurus, milk sales will continue to drop, which is certainly not a rosy picture for the industry.

So why is Coca-Cola, already seeing overall declines of soft-drink sales in North America, venturing into a marketplace beset with so many obvious challenges? Douglas points to the company’s success with its orange juice brand, Simply, as a good example of how the company can use its marketing knowhow and prowess to capture sales for an already known product “redesigned” to appeal to an ever-growing health-conscious audience.

‘Rising tides lift all boats’

Julia Kadison, CEO of the Milk Processor Education Program (MilkPEP), told Food Safety News in an email that, in today’s increasingly competitive environment, marketing innovation is key to gaining a competitive advantage and keeping consumer attention.

MilkPEP is funded by the nation’s milk processors with the goal of increasing fluid milk consumption.

“The fluid milk category is no exception,” she said. “Consumers want and expect options, and Fairlife provides another one. Coke is well-known for its product and marketing innovation and for reinvigorating mature categories.”

Like Douglas, she cited Simply orange juice as a good example of this.

“Twenty years ago, it was a generic commodity-like offering,” she said “Then Simply came onto the market, and others followed, giving consumers a plethora of choices in terms of product benefits and packaging.”

She also said that Simply and other category innovations have proven that “rising tides lift all boats.” And she predicted that the entrance of Coke’s Fairlife into the fluid milk arena “should be a nice complement” to her organization’s innovative marketing and education campaigns.

How is ‘premiumization’ done?

According to Fairlife’s website, the company, which sources its milk from 90 dairies across the country, has a special proprietary filtration process that allows it to reformulate the milk. The process separates the milk into five key components: water, butterfat, protein, vitamins and minerals and lactose, based on the different molecular shape of each component.

These components are then recombined but in different proportions that what you’d find in ordinary milk. The end result is a lactose-free milk with more protein and calcium and less sugar than ordinary milk.

Another plus, according to the company, is that the milk is chilled to 37 degrees F within three minutes after coming out of the cow, thanks to a special cold filtration system.

In a video about Fairlife, dairy farmer Sue McCloskey refers to consumer interest in healthy products, saying that Fairlife milk is “our first step in providing better nutrition so we can all lead our lives with energy, beauty and vitality.” In another video, she adds courage to the mix.

Business basics

Fairlife was established as a joint venture between Coca-Cola and dairy co-op Select Milk Producers, the company behind Core Power. Select Milk Producers describes itself as “a group of large dairy producers with high quality milk and efficient dairy farm operations.”

Fairlife milk was tested in three markets — Minneapolis, Denver and Chicago. Fairlife spokesperson Melanie Kahn said that those test markets were successful and “have led us to believe there’s a good opportunity to drive growth in the milk category through our compelling new innovation.”

The question of food safety

To begin with, Fairlife’s milk is pasteurized, which means foodborne pathogens such as E. coli, Campylobacter and Salmonella are killed. According to the company’s answers to frequently asked questions, unlike ordinary milk, which is pasteurized at a high temperature for 15-20 seconds, Fairlife’s milk is pasteurized at an even higher temperature for less time. This, the company states, gives its milk a much longer shelf life when it’s unopened. Once opened, its shelf life is the same as ordinary milk.

Out in the marketplace, food safety comes into the picture when considering whether Fairlife will provide consumers who prefer raw milk, which is not pasteurized, with an option that differs from conventional milk.

Many raw-milk consumers say they choose raw milk because their systems can’t tolerate the lactose in conventional milk. Others say they get allergic reactions from drinking conventional milk because the enzymes and bacteria killed during pasteurization remain in the milk as dead cells, which can trigger allergies.

It was not clear whether Fairlife’s filtration process can filter out these “dead cells.”

Mark McAfee, owner of Organic Pastures, the largest raw-milk dairy in the United States, doesn’t expect Fairlife to give raw milk “a run for our money.”

When considering the relatively high price for Fairlife milk, McAfee said that consumers looking for alternatives to conventional milk will likely reach for raw milk, which is also higher priced than conventional milk.

“It’s a dead-end venture,” he said. “Our core consumer wants unprocessed, whole, delicious, easy-to-digest full-fat raw milk from a farmer they know and trust.”

But Greg Miller, chief scientific officer for the National Dairy Council and who is known as “Doctor Dairy,” sees a bright future for Fairlife.

“I think it will be very successful,” he said. “It tastes like traditional milk without the sweetness you find in other lactose-free milks.”

Miller also said there’s no good science behind claims that what some refer to as “dead cells” in pasteurized milk are what cause milk allergies. And while milk is one of the top allergens for very young children, he said that many of them outgrow the allergies.

What about organic milk?

Oregon dairy farmer Jon Bansen, a member of, and spokesman for, Organic Valley, said he doesn’t think people will abandon organic milk for Fairlife. But even so, he conceded that Coke has a formidable marketing and distribution system.

Referring to the inexpensive ingredients in Coca-Cola and the generally low prices conventional dairy farmers get for their milk, Bansen said that, “What Coke is saying is, ‘What else can we buy cheap and make expensive?’”

Bansen also said that he doesn’t anticipate seeing Fairlife taking over the organic market “until its cows are raised on pasture.”

According to USDA standards, milk that’s sold as organic must come from cows that graze on pasture for the full length of the local grazing season. While the grazing season must last at least 120 days, in many areas it will be much longer.

The organic rules also say that animals must get at least 30 percent of their food from pasture during the grazing season.

While Fairlife states that its cows have access to shelter 24/7, the company doesn’t say anything about how long they’re actually out on pasture each year.

Bansen said the high cost of Fairlife milk might actually nudge consumers over to organic milk, which generally costs more than conventional milk but less than raw milk.

The average price of a gallon of conventional milk is $ 3. On average, a gallon of organic milk costs $ 6. The average price of a gallon of organic raw milk is $ 14. At stores, Organic Pastures’ raw milk sells for about $ 18 a gallon; at the farm, a gallon is $ 12 to walk-in customers and about $ 14 at farmers markets.

Those pin-up girls

Coke ran into a barrage of public outrage, some of it international, over an original advertising scheme that featured pin-up girls scantily clad in “a splash of milk.” One article described the campaign as “heinously sexist.”

The company says it has moved on.

“The pin-ups advertising may have been eye-catching, but we’re taking a totally new approach,” asserts the Fairlife website. “That campaign was retired in June and we’re super excited about what’s to come.”

 

 

 

 

Food Safety News

Will Lactose-Free Fairlife Milk Be Coke’s Next Cash Cow?

Soft-drink giant The Coca-Cola Company will soon be launching a new version of milk branded as Fairlife. The launch is planned for later this month, with sales to begin nationwide next year. “Purely nutritious milk” states the slogan under Fairlife’s name on the containers.

The company’s optimism is riding high for this new lactose-free product, which boasts of containing 50-percent more natural protein, 30-percent more natural calcium, and 50-percent less sugar than ordinary milk.

Sandy Douglas

During a global consumer conference last month, Sandy Douglas, president of Coca-Cola North America, predicted that “it will rain money” once Fairlife gets established in the marketplace. Even so, he acknowledged that it will take considerable investments in the milk business and several years before that happens.

“We’ll charge twice as much for it as the milk we’re used to buying in a jug,” he said during the conference. Conventional prices for milk in a gallon jug vary but typically hover around $ 3.

According to Fairlife’s website, the new product will be sold at a similar price to value-added milks such as organic and lactose-free. It will offer skim and 2-percent milk varieties, plus a sweetened chocolate milk. The calorie count in a glass of 2 percent is 120; in a glass of skim, 80.

“The premiumization of milk” is how Douglas described this new approach to marketing— a challenge to anyone looking at the declining sales of fluid milk in the United States. Back in 1975, when everyone was encouraged to drink three or four glasses a milk a day “for the sake of your health,” per-capita consumption of beverage milk and cream was 262 pounds, according to figures from USDA.

But with increasing concerns about obesity and the adverse health effects of sugar in their diets — along with other beverage options such as flavored water and non-dairy almond and soy milk — Americans are drinking less milk. By 2012, per-capita consumption of beverage milk and cream had fallen to 195 pounds. And, according to some industry gurus, milk sales will continue to drop, which is certainly not a rosy picture for the industry.

So why is Coca-Cola, already seeing overall declines of soft-drink sales in North America, venturing into a marketplace beset with so many obvious challenges? Douglas points to the company’s success with its orange juice brand, Simply, as a good example of how the company can use its marketing knowhow and prowess to capture sales for an already known product “redesigned” to appeal to an ever-growing health-conscious audience.

‘Rising tides lift all boats’

Julia Kadison, CEO of the Milk Processor Education Program (MilkPEP), told Food Safety News in an email that, in today’s increasingly competitive environment, marketing innovation is key to gaining a competitive advantage and keeping consumer attention.

MilkPEP is funded by the nation’s milk processors with the goal of increasing fluid milk consumption.

“The fluid milk category is no exception,” she said. “Consumers want and expect options, and Fairlife provides another one. Coke is well-known for its product and marketing innovation and for reinvigorating mature categories.”

Like Douglas, she cited Simply orange juice as a good example of this.

“Twenty years ago, it was a generic commodity-like offering,” she said “Then Simply came onto the market, and others followed, giving consumers a plethora of choices in terms of product benefits and packaging.”

She also said that Simply and other category innovations have proven that “rising tides lift all boats.” And she predicted that the entrance of Coke’s Fairlife into the fluid milk arena “should be a nice complement” to her organization’s innovative marketing and education campaigns.

How is ‘premiumization’ done?

According to Fairlife’s website, the company, which sources its milk from 90 dairies across the country, has a special proprietary filtration process that allows it to reformulate the milk. The process separates the milk into five key components: water, butterfat, protein, vitamins and minerals and lactose, based on the different molecular shape of each component.

These components are then recombined but in different proportions that what you’d find in ordinary milk. The end result is a lactose-free milk with more protein and calcium and less sugar than ordinary milk.

Another plus, according to the company, is that the milk is chilled to 37 degrees F within three minutes after coming out of the cow, thanks to a special cold filtration system.

In a video about Fairlife, dairy farmer Sue McCloskey refers to consumer interest in healthy products, saying that Fairlife milk is “our first step in providing better nutrition so we can all lead our lives with energy, beauty and vitality.” In another video, she adds courage to the mix.

Business basics

Fairlife was established as a joint venture between Coca-Cola and dairy co-op Select Milk Producers, the company behind Core Power. Select Milk Producers describes itself as “a group of large dairy producers with high quality milk and efficient dairy farm operations.”

Fairlife milk was tested in three markets — Minneapolis, Denver and Chicago. Fairlife spokesperson Melanie Kahn said that those test markets were successful and “have led us to believe there’s a good opportunity to drive growth in the milk category through our compelling new innovation.”

The question of food safety

To begin with, Fairlife’s milk is pasteurized, which means foodborne pathogens such as E. coli, Campylobacter and Salmonella are killed. According to the company’s answers to frequently asked questions, unlike ordinary milk, which is pasteurized at a high temperature for 15-20 seconds, Fairlife’s milk is pasteurized at an even higher temperature for less time. This, the company states, gives its milk a much longer shelf life when it’s unopened. Once opened, its shelf life is the same as ordinary milk.

Out in the marketplace, food safety comes into the picture when considering whether Fairlife will provide consumers who prefer raw milk, which is not pasteurized, with an option that differs from conventional milk.

Many raw-milk consumers say they choose raw milk because their systems can’t tolerate the lactose in conventional milk. Others say they get allergic reactions from drinking conventional milk because the enzymes and bacteria killed during pasteurization remain in the milk as dead cells, which can trigger allergies.

It was not clear whether Fairlife’s filtration process can filter out these “dead cells.”

Mark McAfee, owner of Organic Pastures, the largest raw-milk dairy in the United States, doesn’t expect Fairlife to give raw milk “a run for our money.”

When considering the relatively high price for Fairlife milk, McAfee said that consumers looking for alternatives to conventional milk will likely reach for raw milk, which is also higher priced than conventional milk.

“It’s a dead-end venture,” he said. “Our core consumer wants unprocessed, whole, delicious, easy-to-digest full-fat raw milk from a farmer they know and trust.”

But Greg Miller, chief scientific officer for the National Dairy Council and who is known as “Doctor Dairy,” sees a bright future for Fairlife.

“I think it will be very successful,” he said. “It tastes like traditional milk without the sweetness you find in other lactose-free milks.”

Miller also said there’s no good science behind claims that what some refer to as “dead cells” in pasteurized milk are what cause milk allergies. And while milk is one of the top allergens for very young children, he said that many of them outgrow the allergies.

What about organic milk?

Oregon dairy farmer Jon Bansen, a member of, and spokesman for, Organic Valley, said he doesn’t think people will abandon organic milk for Fairlife. But even so, he conceded that Coke has a formidable marketing and distribution system.

Referring to the inexpensive ingredients in Coca-Cola and the generally low prices conventional dairy farmers get for their milk, Bansen said that, “What Coke is saying is, ‘What else can we buy cheap and make expensive?’”

Bansen also said that he doesn’t anticipate seeing Fairlife taking over the organic market “until its cows are raised on pasture.”

According to USDA standards, milk that’s sold as organic must come from cows that graze on pasture for the full length of the local grazing season. While the grazing season must last at least 120 days, in many areas it will be much longer.

The organic rules also say that animals must get at least 30 percent of their food from pasture during the grazing season.

While Fairlife states that its cows have access to shelter 24/7, the company doesn’t say anything about how long they’re actually out on pasture each year.

Bansen said the high cost of Fairlife milk might actually nudge consumers over to organic milk, which generally costs more than conventional milk but less than raw milk.

The average price of a gallon of conventional milk is $ 3. On average, a gallon of organic milk costs $ 6. The average price of a gallon of organic raw milk is $ 14. At stores, Organic Pastures’ raw milk sells for about $ 18 a gallon; at the farm, a gallon is $ 12 to walk-in customers and about $ 14 at farmers markets.

Those pin-up girls

Coke ran into a barrage of public outrage, some of it international, over an original advertising scheme that featured pin-up girls scantily clad in “a splash of milk.” One article described the campaign as “heinously sexist.”

The company says it has moved on.

“The pin-ups advertising may have been eye-catching, but we’re taking a totally new approach,” asserts the Fairlife website. “That campaign was retired in June and we’re super excited about what’s to come.”

 

 

 

 

Food Safety News

Will Lactose-Free Fairlife Milk Be Coke’s Next Cash Cow?

Soft-drink giant The Coca-Cola Company will soon be launching a new version of milk branded as Fairlife. The launch is planned for later this month, with sales to begin nationwide next year. “Purely nutritious milk” states the slogan under Fairlife’s name on the containers.

The company’s optimism is riding high for this new lactose-free product, which boasts of containing 50-percent more natural protein, 30-percent more natural calcium, and 50-percent less sugar than ordinary milk.

Sandy Douglas

During a global consumer conference last month, Sandy Douglas, president of Coca-Cola North America, predicted that “it will rain money” once Fairlife gets established in the marketplace. Even so, he acknowledged that it will take considerable investments in the milk business and several years before that happens.

“We’ll charge twice as much for it as the milk we’re used to buying in a jug,” he said during the conference. Conventional prices for milk in a gallon jug vary but typically hover around $ 3.

According to Fairlife’s website, the new product will be sold at a similar price to value-added milks such as organic and lactose-free. It will offer skim and 2-percent milk varieties, plus a sweetened chocolate milk. The calorie count in a glass of 2 percent is 120; in a glass of skim, 80.

“The premiumization of milk” is how Douglas described this new approach to marketing— a challenge to anyone looking at the declining sales of fluid milk in the United States. Back in 1975, when everyone was encouraged to drink three or four glasses a milk a day “for the sake of your health,” per-capita consumption of beverage milk and cream was 262 pounds, according to figures from USDA.

But with increasing concerns about obesity and the adverse health effects of sugar in their diets — along with other beverage options such as flavored water and non-dairy almond and soy milk — Americans are drinking less milk. By 2012, per-capita consumption of beverage milk and cream had fallen to 195 pounds. And, according to some industry gurus, milk sales will continue to drop, which is certainly not a rosy picture for the industry.

So why is Coca-Cola, already seeing overall declines of soft-drink sales in North America, venturing into a marketplace beset with so many obvious challenges? Douglas points to the company’s success with its orange juice brand, Simply, as a good example of how the company can use its marketing knowhow and prowess to capture sales for an already known product “redesigned” to appeal to an ever-growing health-conscious audience.

‘Rising tides lift all boats’

Julia Kadison, CEO of the Milk Processor Education Program (MilkPEP), told Food Safety News in an email that, in today’s increasingly competitive environment, marketing innovation is key to gaining a competitive advantage and keeping consumer attention.

MilkPEP is funded by the nation’s milk processors with the goal of increasing fluid milk consumption.

“The fluid milk category is no exception,” she said. “Consumers want and expect options, and Fairlife provides another one. Coke is well-known for its product and marketing innovation and for reinvigorating mature categories.”

Like Douglas, she cited Simply orange juice as a good example of this.

“Twenty years ago, it was a generic commodity-like offering,” she said “Then Simply came onto the market, and others followed, giving consumers a plethora of choices in terms of product benefits and packaging.”

She also said that Simply and other category innovations have proven that “rising tides lift all boats.” And she predicted that the entrance of Coke’s Fairlife into the fluid milk arena “should be a nice complement” to her organization’s innovative marketing and education campaigns.

How is ‘premiumization’ done?

According to Fairlife’s website, the company, which sources its milk from 90 dairies across the country, has a special proprietary filtration process that allows it to reformulate the milk. The process separates the milk into five key components: water, butterfat, protein, vitamins and minerals and lactose, based on the different molecular shape of each component.

These components are then recombined but in different proportions that what you’d find in ordinary milk. The end result is a lactose-free milk with more protein and calcium and less sugar than ordinary milk.

Another plus, according to the company, is that the milk is chilled to 37 degrees F within three minutes after coming out of the cow, thanks to a special cold filtration system.

In a video about Fairlife, dairy farmer Sue McCloskey refers to consumer interest in healthy products, saying that Fairlife milk is “our first step in providing better nutrition so we can all lead our lives with energy, beauty and vitality.” In another video, she adds courage to the mix.

Business basics

Fairlife was established as a joint venture between Coca-Cola and dairy co-op Select Milk Producers, the company behind Core Power. Select Milk Producers describes itself as “a group of large dairy producers with high quality milk and efficient dairy farm operations.”

Fairlife milk was tested in three markets — Minneapolis, Denver and Chicago. Fairlife spokesperson Melanie Kahn said that those test markets were successful and “have led us to believe there’s a good opportunity to drive growth in the milk category through our compelling new innovation.”

The question of food safety

To begin with, Fairlife’s milk is pasteurized, which means foodborne pathogens such as E. coli, Campylobacter and Salmonella are killed. According to the company’s answers to frequently asked questions, unlike ordinary milk, which is pasteurized at a high temperature for 15-20 seconds, Fairlife’s milk is pasteurized at an even higher temperature for less time. This, the company states, gives its milk a much longer shelf life when it’s unopened. Once opened, its shelf life is the same as ordinary milk.

Out in the marketplace, food safety comes into the picture when considering whether Fairlife will provide consumers who prefer raw milk, which is not pasteurized, with an option that differs from conventional milk.

Many raw-milk consumers say they choose raw milk because their systems can’t tolerate the lactose in conventional milk. Others say they get allergic reactions from drinking conventional milk because the enzymes and bacteria killed during pasteurization remain in the milk as dead cells, which can trigger allergies.

It was not clear whether Fairlife’s filtration process can filter out these “dead cells.”

Mark McAfee, owner of Organic Pastures, the largest raw-milk dairy in the United States, doesn’t expect Fairlife to give raw milk “a run for our money.”

When considering the relatively high price for Fairlife milk, McAfee said that consumers looking for alternatives to conventional milk will likely reach for raw milk, which is also higher priced than conventional milk.

“It’s a dead-end venture,” he said. “Our core consumer wants unprocessed, whole, delicious, easy-to-digest full-fat raw milk from a farmer they know and trust.”

But Greg Miller, chief scientific officer for the National Dairy Council and who is known as “Doctor Dairy,” sees a bright future for Fairlife.

“I think it will be very successful,” he said. “It tastes like traditional milk without the sweetness you find in other lactose-free milks.”

Miller also said there’s no good science behind claims that what some refer to as “dead cells” in pasteurized milk are what cause milk allergies. And while milk is one of the top allergens for very young children, he said that many of them outgrow the allergies.

What about organic milk?

Oregon dairy farmer Jon Bansen, a member of, and spokesman for, Organic Valley, said he doesn’t think people will abandon organic milk for Fairlife. But even so, he conceded that Coke has a formidable marketing and distribution system.

Referring to the inexpensive ingredients in Coca-Cola and the generally low prices conventional dairy farmers get for their milk, Bansen said that, “What Coke is saying is, ‘What else can we buy cheap and make expensive?’”

Bansen also said that he doesn’t anticipate seeing Fairlife taking over the organic market “until its cows are raised on pasture.”

According to USDA standards, milk that’s sold as organic must come from cows that graze on pasture for the full length of the local grazing season. While the grazing season must last at least 120 days, in many areas it will be much longer.

The organic rules also say that animals must get at least 30 percent of their food from pasture during the grazing season.

While Fairlife states that its cows have access to shelter 24/7, the company doesn’t say anything about how long they’re actually out on pasture each year.

Bansen said the high cost of Fairlife milk might actually nudge consumers over to organic milk, which generally costs more than conventional milk but less than raw milk.

The average price of a gallon of conventional milk is $ 3. On average, a gallon of organic milk costs $ 6. The average price of a gallon of organic raw milk is $ 14. At stores, Organic Pastures’ raw milk sells for about $ 18 a gallon; at the farm, a gallon is $ 12 to walk-in customers and about $ 14 at farmers markets.

Those pin-up girls

Coke ran into a barrage of public outrage, some of it international, over an original advertising scheme that featured pin-up girls scantily clad in “a splash of milk.” One article described the campaign as “heinously sexist.”

The company says it has moved on.

“The pin-ups advertising may have been eye-catching, but we’re taking a totally new approach,” asserts the Fairlife website. “That campaign was retired in June and we’re super excited about what’s to come.”

 

 

 

 

Food Safety News

Will Lactose-Free Fairlife Milk Be Coke’s Next Cash Cow?

Soft-drink giant The Coca-Cola Company will soon be launching a new version of milk branded as Fairlife. The launch is planned for later this month, with sales to begin nationwide next year. “Purely nutritious milk” states the slogan under Fairlife’s name on the containers.

The company’s optimism is riding high for this new lactose-free product, which boasts of containing 50-percent more natural protein, 30-percent more natural calcium, and 50-percent less sugar than ordinary milk.

Sandy Douglas

During a global consumer conference last month, Sandy Douglas, president of Coca-Cola North America, predicted that “it will rain money” once Fairlife gets established in the marketplace. Even so, he acknowledged that it will take considerable investments in the milk business and several years before that happens.

“We’ll charge twice as much for it as the milk we’re used to buying in a jug,” he said during the conference. Conventional prices for milk in a gallon jug vary but typically hover around $ 3.

According to Fairlife’s website, the new product will be sold at a similar price to value-added milks such as organic and lactose-free. It will offer skim and 2-percent milk varieties, plus a sweetened chocolate milk. The calorie count in a glass of 2 percent is 120; in a glass of skim, 80.

“The premiumization of milk” is how Douglas described this new approach to marketing— a challenge to anyone looking at the declining sales of fluid milk in the United States. Back in 1975, when everyone was encouraged to drink three or four glasses a milk a day “for the sake of your health,” per-capita consumption of beverage milk and cream was 262 pounds, according to figures from USDA.

But with increasing concerns about obesity and the adverse health effects of sugar in their diets — along with other beverage options such as flavored water and non-dairy almond and soy milk — Americans are drinking less milk. By 2012, per-capita consumption of beverage milk and cream had fallen to 195 pounds. And, according to some industry gurus, milk sales will continue to drop, which is certainly not a rosy picture for the industry.

So why is Coca-Cola, already seeing overall declines of soft-drink sales in North America, venturing into a marketplace beset with so many obvious challenges? Douglas points to the company’s success with its orange juice brand, Simply, as a good example of how the company can use its marketing knowhow and prowess to capture sales for an already known product “redesigned” to appeal to an ever-growing health-conscious audience.

‘Rising tides lift all boats’

Julia Kadison, CEO of the Milk Processor Education Program (MilkPEP), told Food Safety News in an email that, in today’s increasingly competitive environment, marketing innovation is key to gaining a competitive advantage and keeping consumer attention.

MilkPEP is funded by the nation’s milk processors with the goal of increasing fluid milk consumption.

“The fluid milk category is no exception,” she said. “Consumers want and expect options, and Fairlife provides another one. Coke is well-known for its product and marketing innovation and for reinvigorating mature categories.”

Like Douglas, she cited Simply orange juice as a good example of this.

“Twenty years ago, it was a generic commodity-like offering,” she said “Then Simply came onto the market, and others followed, giving consumers a plethora of choices in terms of product benefits and packaging.”

She also said that Simply and other category innovations have proven that “rising tides lift all boats.” And she predicted that the entrance of Coke’s Fairlife into the fluid milk arena “should be a nice complement” to her organization’s innovative marketing and education campaigns.

How is ‘premiumization’ done?

According to Fairlife’s website, the company, which sources its milk from 90 dairies across the country, has a special proprietary filtration process that allows it to reformulate the milk. The process separates the milk into five key components: water, butterfat, protein, vitamins and minerals and lactose, based on the different molecular shape of each component.

These components are then recombined but in different proportions that what you’d find in ordinary milk. The end result is a lactose-free milk with more protein and calcium and less sugar than ordinary milk.

Another plus, according to the company, is that the milk is chilled to 37 degrees F within three minutes after coming out of the cow, thanks to a special cold filtration system.

In a video about Fairlife, dairy farmer Sue McCloskey refers to consumer interest in healthy products, saying that Fairlife milk is “our first step in providing better nutrition so we can all lead our lives with energy, beauty and vitality.” In another video, she adds courage to the mix.

Business basics

Fairlife was established as a joint venture between Coca-Cola and dairy co-op Select Milk Producers, the company behind Core Power. Select Milk Producers describes itself as “a group of large dairy producers with high quality milk and efficient dairy farm operations.”

Fairlife milk was tested in three markets — Minneapolis, Denver and Chicago. Fairlife spokesperson Melanie Kahn said that those test markets were successful and “have led us to believe there’s a good opportunity to drive growth in the milk category through our compelling new innovation.”

The question of food safety

To begin with, Fairlife’s milk is pasteurized, which means foodborne pathogens such as E. coli, Campylobacter and Salmonella are killed. According to the company’s answers to frequently asked questions, unlike ordinary milk, which is pasteurized at a high temperature for 15-20 seconds, Fairlife’s milk is pasteurized at an even higher temperature for less time. This, the company states, gives its milk a much longer shelf life when it’s unopened. Once opened, its shelf life is the same as ordinary milk.

Out in the marketplace, food safety comes into the picture when considering whether Fairlife will provide consumers who prefer raw milk, which is not pasteurized, with an option that differs from conventional milk.

Many raw-milk consumers say they choose raw milk because their systems can’t tolerate the lactose in conventional milk. Others say they get allergic reactions from drinking conventional milk because the enzymes and bacteria killed during pasteurization remain in the milk as dead cells, which can trigger allergies.

It was not clear whether Fairlife’s filtration process can filter out these “dead cells.”

Mark McAfee, owner of Organic Pastures, the largest raw-milk dairy in the United States, doesn’t expect Fairlife to give raw milk “a run for our money.”

When considering the relatively high price for Fairlife milk, McAfee said that consumers looking for alternatives to conventional milk will likely reach for raw milk, which is also higher priced than conventional milk.

“It’s a dead-end venture,” he said. “Our core consumer wants unprocessed, whole, delicious, easy-to-digest full-fat raw milk from a farmer they know and trust.”

But Greg Miller, chief scientific officer for the National Dairy Council and who is known as “Doctor Dairy,” sees a bright future for Fairlife.

“I think it will be very successful,” he said. “It tastes like traditional milk without the sweetness you find in other lactose-free milks.”

Miller also said there’s no good science behind claims that what some refer to as “dead cells” in pasteurized milk are what cause milk allergies. And while milk is one of the top allergens for very young children, he said that many of them outgrow the allergies.

What about organic milk?

Oregon dairy farmer Jon Bansen, a member of, and spokesman for, Organic Valley, said he doesn’t think people will abandon organic milk for Fairlife. But even so, he conceded that Coke has a formidable marketing and distribution system.

Referring to the inexpensive ingredients in Coca-Cola and the generally low prices conventional dairy farmers get for their milk, Bansen said that, “What Coke is saying is, ‘What else can we buy cheap and make expensive?’”

Bansen also said that he doesn’t anticipate seeing Fairlife taking over the organic market “until its cows are raised on pasture.”

According to USDA standards, milk that’s sold as organic must come from cows that graze on pasture for the full length of the local grazing season. While the grazing season must last at least 120 days, in many areas it will be much longer.

The organic rules also say that animals must get at least 30 percent of their food from pasture during the grazing season.

While Fairlife states that its cows have access to shelter 24/7, the company doesn’t say anything about how long they’re actually out on pasture each year.

Bansen said the high cost of Fairlife milk might actually nudge consumers over to organic milk, which generally costs more than conventional milk but less than raw milk.

The average price of a gallon of conventional milk is $ 3. On average, a gallon of organic milk costs $ 6. The average price of a gallon of organic raw milk is $ 14. At stores, Organic Pastures’ raw milk sells for about $ 18 a gallon; at the farm, a gallon is $ 12 to walk-in customers and about $ 14 at farmers markets.

Those pin-up girls

Coke ran into a barrage of public outrage, some of it international, over an original advertising scheme that featured pin-up girls scantily clad in “a splash of milk.” One article described the campaign as “heinously sexist.”

The company says it has moved on.

“The pin-ups advertising may have been eye-catching, but we’re taking a totally new approach,” asserts the Fairlife website. “That campaign was retired in June and we’re super excited about what’s to come.”

 

 

 

 

Food Safety News

Will Lactose-Free Fairlife Milk Be Coke’s Next Cash Cow?

Soft-drink giant The Coca-Cola Company will soon be launching a new version of milk branded as Fairlife. The launch is planned for later this month, with sales to begin nationwide next year. “Purely nutritious milk” states the slogan under Fairlife’s name on the containers.

The company’s optimism is riding high for this new lactose-free product, which boasts of containing 50-percent more natural protein, 30-percent more natural calcium, and 50-percent less sugar than ordinary milk.

Sandy Douglas

During a global consumer conference last month, Sandy Douglas, president of Coca-Cola North America, predicted that “it will rain money” once Fairlife gets established in the marketplace. Even so, he acknowledged that it will take considerable investments in the milk business and several years before that happens.

“We’ll charge twice as much for it as the milk we’re used to buying in a jug,” he said during the conference. Conventional prices for milk in a gallon jug vary but typically hover around $ 3.

According to Fairlife’s website, the new product will be sold at a similar price to value-added milks such as organic and lactose-free. It will offer skim and 2-percent milk varieties, plus a sweetened chocolate milk. The calorie count in a glass of 2 percent is 120; in a glass of skim, 80.

“The premiumization of milk” is how Douglas described this new approach to marketing— a challenge to anyone looking at the declining sales of fluid milk in the United States. Back in 1975, when everyone was encouraged to drink three or four glasses a milk a day “for the sake of your health,” per-capita consumption of beverage milk and cream was 262 pounds, according to figures from USDA.

But with increasing concerns about obesity and the adverse health effects of sugar in their diets — along with other beverage options such as flavored water and non-dairy almond and soy milk — Americans are drinking less milk. By 2012, per-capita consumption of beverage milk and cream had fallen to 195 pounds. And, according to some industry gurus, milk sales will continue to drop, which is certainly not a rosy picture for the industry.

So why is Coca-Cola, already seeing overall declines of soft-drink sales in North America, venturing into a marketplace beset with so many obvious challenges? Douglas points to the company’s success with its orange juice brand, Simply, as a good example of how the company can use its marketing knowhow and prowess to capture sales for an already known product “redesigned” to appeal to an ever-growing health-conscious audience.

‘Rising tides lift all boats’

Julia Kadison, CEO of the Milk Processor Education Program (MilkPEP), told Food Safety News in an email that, in today’s increasingly competitive environment, marketing innovation is key to gaining a competitive advantage and keeping consumer attention.

MilkPEP is funded by the nation’s milk processors with the goal of increasing fluid milk consumption.

“The fluid milk category is no exception,” she said. “Consumers want and expect options, and Fairlife provides another one. Coke is well-known for its product and marketing innovation and for reinvigorating mature categories.”

Like Douglas, she cited Simply orange juice as a good example of this.

“Twenty years ago, it was a generic commodity-like offering,” she said “Then Simply came onto the market, and others followed, giving consumers a plethora of choices in terms of product benefits and packaging.”

She also said that Simply and other category innovations have proven that “rising tides lift all boats.” And she predicted that the entrance of Coke’s Fairlife into the fluid milk arena “should be a nice complement” to her organization’s innovative marketing and education campaigns.

How is ‘premiumization’ done?

According to Fairlife’s website, the company, which sources its milk from 90 dairies across the country, has a special proprietary filtration process that allows it to reformulate the milk. The process separates the milk into five key components: water, butterfat, protein, vitamins and minerals and lactose, based on the different molecular shape of each component.

These components are then recombined but in different proportions that what you’d find in ordinary milk. The end result is a lactose-free milk with more protein and calcium and less sugar than ordinary milk.

Another plus, according to the company, is that the milk is chilled to 37 degrees F within three minutes after coming out of the cow, thanks to a special cold filtration system.

In a video about Fairlife, dairy farmer Sue McCloskey refers to consumer interest in healthy products, saying that Fairlife milk is “our first step in providing better nutrition so we can all lead our lives with energy, beauty and vitality.” In another video, she adds courage to the mix.

Business basics

Fairlife was established as a joint venture between Coca-Cola and dairy co-op Select Milk Producers, the company behind Core Power. Select Milk Producers describes itself as “a group of large dairy producers with high quality milk and efficient dairy farm operations.”

Fairlife milk was tested in three markets — Minneapolis, Denver and Chicago. Fairlife spokesperson Melanie Kahn said that those test markets were successful and “have led us to believe there’s a good opportunity to drive growth in the milk category through our compelling new innovation.”

The question of food safety

To begin with, Fairlife’s milk is pasteurized, which means foodborne pathogens such as E. coli, Campylobacter and Salmonella are killed. According to the company’s answers to frequently asked questions, unlike ordinary milk, which is pasteurized at a high temperature for 15-20 seconds, Fairlife’s milk is pasteurized at an even higher temperature for less time. This, the company states, gives its milk a much longer shelf life when it’s unopened. Once opened, its shelf life is the same as ordinary milk.

Out in the marketplace, food safety comes into the picture when considering whether Fairlife will provide consumers who prefer raw milk, which is not pasteurized, with an option that differs from conventional milk.

Many raw-milk consumers say they choose raw milk because their systems can’t tolerate the lactose in conventional milk. Others say they get allergic reactions from drinking conventional milk because the enzymes and bacteria killed during pasteurization remain in the milk as dead cells, which can trigger allergies.

It was not clear whether Fairlife’s filtration process can filter out these “dead cells.”

Mark McAfee, owner of Organic Pastures, the largest raw-milk dairy in the United States, doesn’t expect Fairlife to give raw milk “a run for our money.”

When considering the relatively high price for Fairlife milk, McAfee said that consumers looking for alternatives to conventional milk will likely reach for raw milk, which is also higher priced than conventional milk.

“It’s a dead-end venture,” he said. “Our core consumer wants unprocessed, whole, delicious, easy-to-digest full-fat raw milk from a farmer they know and trust.”

But Greg Miller, chief scientific officer for the National Dairy Council and who is known as “Doctor Dairy,” sees a bright future for Fairlife.

“I think it will be very successful,” he said. “It tastes like traditional milk without the sweetness you find in other lactose-free milks.”

Miller also said there’s no good science behind claims that what some refer to as “dead cells” in pasteurized milk are what cause milk allergies. And while milk is one of the top allergens for very young children, he said that many of them outgrow the allergies.

What about organic milk?

Oregon dairy farmer Jon Bansen, a member of, and spokesman for, Organic Valley, said he doesn’t think people will abandon organic milk for Fairlife. But even so, he conceded that Coke has a formidable marketing and distribution system.

Referring to the inexpensive ingredients in Coca-Cola and the generally low prices conventional dairy farmers get for their milk, Bansen said that, “What Coke is saying is, ‘What else can we buy cheap and make expensive?’”

Bansen also said that he doesn’t anticipate seeing Fairlife taking over the organic market “until its cows are raised on pasture.”

According to USDA standards, milk that’s sold as organic must come from cows that graze on pasture for the full length of the local grazing season. While the grazing season must last at least 120 days, in many areas it will be much longer.

The organic rules also say that animals must get at least 30 percent of their food from pasture during the grazing season.

While Fairlife states that its cows have access to shelter 24/7, the company doesn’t say anything about how long they’re actually out on pasture each year.

Bansen said the high cost of Fairlife milk might actually nudge consumers over to organic milk, which generally costs more than conventional milk but less than raw milk.

The average price of a gallon of conventional milk is $ 3. On average, a gallon of organic milk costs $ 6. The average price of a gallon of organic raw milk is $ 14. At stores, Organic Pastures’ raw milk sells for about $ 18 a gallon; at the farm, a gallon is $ 12 to walk-in customers and about $ 14 at farmers markets.

Those pin-up girls

Coke ran into a barrage of public outrage, some of it international, over an original advertising scheme that featured pin-up girls scantily clad in “a splash of milk.” One article described the campaign as “heinously sexist.”

The company says it has moved on.

“The pin-ups advertising may have been eye-catching, but we’re taking a totally new approach,” asserts the Fairlife website. “That campaign was retired in June and we’re super excited about what’s to come.”

 

 

 

 

Food Safety News

Will Lactose-Free Fairlife Milk Be Coke’s Next Cash Cow?

Soft-drink giant The Coca-Cola Company will soon be launching a new version of milk branded as Fairlife. The launch is planned for later this month, with sales to begin nationwide next year. “Purely nutritious milk” states the slogan under Fairlife’s name on the containers.

The company’s optimism is riding high for this new lactose-free product, which boasts of containing 50-percent more natural protein, 30-percent more natural calcium, and 50-percent less sugar than ordinary milk.

Sandy Douglas

During a global consumer conference last month, Sandy Douglas, president of Coca-Cola North America, predicted that “it will rain money” once Fairlife gets established in the marketplace. Even so, he acknowledged that it will take considerable investments in the milk business and several years before that happens.

“We’ll charge twice as much for it as the milk we’re used to buying in a jug,” he said during the conference. Conventional prices for milk in a gallon jug vary but typically hover around $ 3.

According to Fairlife’s website, the new product will be sold at a similar price to value-added milks such as organic and lactose-free. It will offer skim and 2-percent milk varieties, plus a sweetened chocolate milk. The calorie count in a glass of 2 percent is 120; in a glass of skim, 80.

“The premiumization of milk” is how Douglas described this new approach to marketing— a challenge to anyone looking at the declining sales of fluid milk in the United States. Back in 1975, when everyone was encouraged to drink three or four glasses a milk a day “for the sake of your health,” per-capita consumption of beverage milk and cream was 262 pounds, according to figures from USDA.

But with increasing concerns about obesity and the adverse health effects of sugar in their diets — along with other beverage options such as flavored water and non-dairy almond and soy milk — Americans are drinking less milk. By 2012, per-capita consumption of beverage milk and cream had fallen to 195 pounds. And, according to some industry gurus, milk sales will continue to drop, which is certainly not a rosy picture for the industry.

So why is Coca-Cola, already seeing overall declines of soft-drink sales in North America, venturing into a marketplace beset with so many obvious challenges? Douglas points to the company’s success with its orange juice brand, Simply, as a good example of how the company can use its marketing knowhow and prowess to capture sales for an already known product “redesigned” to appeal to an ever-growing health-conscious audience.

‘Rising tides lift all boats’

Julia Kadison, CEO of the Milk Processor Education Program (MilkPEP), told Food Safety News in an email that, in today’s increasingly competitive environment, marketing innovation is key to gaining a competitive advantage and keeping consumer attention.

MilkPEP is funded by the nation’s milk processors with the goal of increasing fluid milk consumption.

“The fluid milk category is no exception,” she said. “Consumers want and expect options, and Fairlife provides another one. Coke is well-known for its product and marketing innovation and for reinvigorating mature categories.”

Like Douglas, she cited Simply orange juice as a good example of this.

“Twenty years ago, it was a generic commodity-like offering,” she said “Then Simply came onto the market, and others followed, giving consumers a plethora of choices in terms of product benefits and packaging.”

She also said that Simply and other category innovations have proven that “rising tides lift all boats.” And she predicted that the entrance of Coke’s Fairlife into the fluid milk arena “should be a nice complement” to her organization’s innovative marketing and education campaigns.

How is ‘premiumization’ done?

According to Fairlife’s website, the company, which sources its milk from 90 dairies across the country, has a special proprietary filtration process that allows it to reformulate the milk. The process separates the milk into five key components: water, butterfat, protein, vitamins and minerals and lactose, based on the different molecular shape of each component.

These components are then recombined but in different proportions that what you’d find in ordinary milk. The end result is a lactose-free milk with more protein and calcium and less sugar than ordinary milk.

Another plus, according to the company, is that the milk is chilled to 37 degrees F within three minutes after coming out of the cow, thanks to a special cold filtration system.

In a video about Fairlife, dairy farmer Sue McCloskey refers to consumer interest in healthy products, saying that Fairlife milk is “our first step in providing better nutrition so we can all lead our lives with energy, beauty and vitality.” In another video, she adds courage to the mix.

Business basics

Fairlife was established as a joint venture between Coca-Cola and dairy co-op Select Milk Producers, the company behind Core Power. Select Milk Producers describes itself as “a group of large dairy producers with high quality milk and efficient dairy farm operations.”

Fairlife milk was tested in three markets — Minneapolis, Denver and Chicago. Fairlife spokesperson Melanie Kahn said that those test markets were successful and “have led us to believe there’s a good opportunity to drive growth in the milk category through our compelling new innovation.”

The question of food safety

To begin with, Fairlife’s milk is pasteurized, which means foodborne pathogens such as E. coli, Campylobacter and Salmonella are killed. According to the company’s answers to frequently asked questions, unlike ordinary milk, which is pasteurized at a high temperature for 15-20 seconds, Fairlife’s milk is pasteurized at an even higher temperature for less time. This, the company states, gives its milk a much longer shelf life when it’s unopened. Once opened, its shelf life is the same as ordinary milk.

Out in the marketplace, food safety comes into the picture when considering whether Fairlife will provide consumers who prefer raw milk, which is not pasteurized, with an option that differs from conventional milk.

Many raw-milk consumers say they choose raw milk because their systems can’t tolerate the lactose in conventional milk. Others say they get allergic reactions from drinking conventional milk because the enzymes and bacteria killed during pasteurization remain in the milk as dead cells, which can trigger allergies.

It was not clear whether Fairlife’s filtration process can filter out these “dead cells.”

Mark McAfee, owner of Organic Pastures, the largest raw-milk dairy in the United States, doesn’t expect Fairlife to give raw milk “a run for our money.”

When considering the relatively high price for Fairlife milk, McAfee said that consumers looking for alternatives to conventional milk will likely reach for raw milk, which is also higher priced than conventional milk.

“It’s a dead-end venture,” he said. “Our core consumer wants unprocessed, whole, delicious, easy-to-digest full-fat raw milk from a farmer they know and trust.”

But Greg Miller, chief scientific officer for the National Dairy Council and who is known as “Doctor Dairy,” sees a bright future for Fairlife.

“I think it will be very successful,” he said. “It tastes like traditional milk without the sweetness you find in other lactose-free milks.”

Miller also said there’s no good science behind claims that what some refer to as “dead cells” in pasteurized milk are what cause milk allergies. And while milk is one of the top allergens for very young children, he said that many of them outgrow the allergies.

What about organic milk?

Oregon dairy farmer Jon Bansen, a member of, and spokesman for, Organic Valley, said he doesn’t think people will abandon organic milk for Fairlife. But even so, he conceded that Coke has a formidable marketing and distribution system.

Referring to the inexpensive ingredients in Coca-Cola and the generally low prices conventional dairy farmers get for their milk, Bansen said that, “What Coke is saying is, ‘What else can we buy cheap and make expensive?’”

Bansen also said that he doesn’t anticipate seeing Fairlife taking over the organic market “until its cows are raised on pasture.”

According to USDA standards, milk that’s sold as organic must come from cows that graze on pasture for the full length of the local grazing season. While the grazing season must last at least 120 days, in many areas it will be much longer.

The organic rules also say that animals must get at least 30 percent of their food from pasture during the grazing season.

While Fairlife states that its cows have access to shelter 24/7, the company doesn’t say anything about how long they’re actually out on pasture each year.

Bansen said the high cost of Fairlife milk might actually nudge consumers over to organic milk, which generally costs more than conventional milk but less than raw milk.

The average price of a gallon of conventional milk is $ 3. On average, a gallon of organic milk costs $ 6. The average price of a gallon of organic raw milk is $ 14. At stores, Organic Pastures’ raw milk sells for about $ 18 a gallon; at the farm, a gallon is $ 12 to walk-in customers and about $ 14 at farmers markets.

Those pin-up girls

Coke ran into a barrage of public outrage, some of it international, over an original advertising scheme that featured pin-up girls scantily clad in “a splash of milk.” One article described the campaign as “heinously sexist.”

The company says it has moved on.

“The pin-ups advertising may have been eye-catching, but we’re taking a totally new approach,” asserts the Fairlife website. “That campaign was retired in June and we’re super excited about what’s to come.”

 

 

 

 

Food Safety News

Will Lactose-Free Fairlife Milk Be Coke’s Next Cash Cow?

Soft-drink giant The Coca-Cola Company will soon be launching a new version of milk branded as Fairlife. The launch is planned for later this month, with sales to begin nationwide next year. “Purely nutritious milk” states the slogan under Fairlife’s name on the containers.

The company’s optimism is riding high for this new lactose-free product, which boasts of containing 50-percent more natural protein, 30-percent more natural calcium, and 50-percent less sugar than ordinary milk.

Sandy Douglas

During a global consumer conference last month, Sandy Douglas, president of Coca-Cola North America, predicted that “it will rain money” once Fairlife gets established in the marketplace. Even so, he acknowledged that it will take considerable investments in the milk business and several years before that happens.

“We’ll charge twice as much for it as the milk we’re used to buying in a jug,” he said during the conference. Conventional prices for milk in a gallon jug vary but typically hover around $ 3.

According to Fairlife’s website, the new product will be sold at a similar price to value-added milks such as organic and lactose-free. It will offer skim and 2-percent milk varieties, plus a sweetened chocolate milk. The calorie count in a glass of 2 percent is 120; in a glass of skim, 80.

“The premiumization of milk” is how Douglas described this new approach to marketing— a challenge to anyone looking at the declining sales of fluid milk in the United States. Back in 1975, when everyone was encouraged to drink three or four glasses a milk a day “for the sake of your health,” per-capita consumption of beverage milk and cream was 262 pounds, according to figures from USDA.

But with increasing concerns about obesity and the adverse health effects of sugar in their diets — along with other beverage options such as flavored water and non-dairy almond and soy milk — Americans are drinking less milk. By 2012, per-capita consumption of beverage milk and cream had fallen to 195 pounds. And, according to some industry gurus, milk sales will continue to drop, which is certainly not a rosy picture for the industry.

So why is Coca-Cola, already seeing overall declines of soft-drink sales in North America, venturing into a marketplace beset with so many obvious challenges? Douglas points to the company’s success with its orange juice brand, Simply, as a good example of how the company can use its marketing knowhow and prowess to capture sales for an already known product “redesigned” to appeal to an ever-growing health-conscious audience.

‘Rising tides lift all boats’

Julia Kadison, CEO of the Milk Processor Education Program (MilkPEP), told Food Safety News in an email that, in today’s increasingly competitive environment, marketing innovation is key to gaining a competitive advantage and keeping consumer attention.

MilkPEP is funded by the nation’s milk processors with the goal of increasing fluid milk consumption.

“The fluid milk category is no exception,” she said. “Consumers want and expect options, and Fairlife provides another one. Coke is well-known for its product and marketing innovation and for reinvigorating mature categories.”

Like Douglas, she cited Simply orange juice as a good example of this.

“Twenty years ago, it was a generic commodity-like offering,” she said “Then Simply came onto the market, and others followed, giving consumers a plethora of choices in terms of product benefits and packaging.”

She also said that Simply and other category innovations have proven that “rising tides lift all boats.” And she predicted that the entrance of Coke’s Fairlife into the fluid milk arena “should be a nice complement” to her organization’s innovative marketing and education campaigns.

How is ‘premiumization’ done?

According to Fairlife’s website, the company, which sources its milk from 90 dairies across the country, has a special proprietary filtration process that allows it to reformulate the milk. The process separates the milk into five key components: water, butterfat, protein, vitamins and minerals and lactose, based on the different molecular shape of each component.

These components are then recombined but in different proportions that what you’d find in ordinary milk. The end result is a lactose-free milk with more protein and calcium and less sugar than ordinary milk.

Another plus, according to the company, is that the milk is chilled to 37 degrees F within three minutes after coming out of the cow, thanks to a special cold filtration system.

In a video about Fairlife, dairy farmer Sue McCloskey refers to consumer interest in healthy products, saying that Fairlife milk is “our first step in providing better nutrition so we can all lead our lives with energy, beauty and vitality.” In another video, she adds courage to the mix.

Business basics

Fairlife was established as a joint venture between Coca-Cola and dairy co-op Select Milk Producers, the company behind Core Power. Select Milk Producers describes itself as “a group of large dairy producers with high quality milk and efficient dairy farm operations.”

Fairlife milk was tested in three markets — Minneapolis, Denver and Chicago. Fairlife spokesperson Melanie Kahn said that those test markets were successful and “have led us to believe there’s a good opportunity to drive growth in the milk category through our compelling new innovation.”

The question of food safety

To begin with, Fairlife’s milk is pasteurized, which means foodborne pathogens such as E. coli, Campylobacter and Salmonella are killed. According to the company’s answers to frequently asked questions, unlike ordinary milk, which is pasteurized at a high temperature for 15-20 seconds, Fairlife’s milk is pasteurized at an even higher temperature for less time. This, the company states, gives its milk a much longer shelf life when it’s unopened. Once opened, its shelf life is the same as ordinary milk.

Out in the marketplace, food safety comes into the picture when considering whether Fairlife will provide consumers who prefer raw milk, which is not pasteurized, with an option that differs from conventional milk.

Many raw-milk consumers say they choose raw milk because their systems can’t tolerate the lactose in conventional milk. Others say they get allergic reactions from drinking conventional milk because the enzymes and bacteria killed during pasteurization remain in the milk as dead cells, which can trigger allergies.

It was not clear whether Fairlife’s filtration process can filter out these “dead cells.”

Mark McAfee, owner of Organic Pastures, the largest raw-milk dairy in the United States, doesn’t expect Fairlife to give raw milk “a run for our money.”

When considering the relatively high price for Fairlife milk, McAfee said that consumers looking for alternatives to conventional milk will likely reach for raw milk, which is also higher priced than conventional milk.

“It’s a dead-end venture,” he said. “Our core consumer wants unprocessed, whole, delicious, easy-to-digest full-fat raw milk from a farmer they know and trust.”

But Greg Miller, chief scientific officer for the National Dairy Council and who is known as “Doctor Dairy,” sees a bright future for Fairlife.

“I think it will be very successful,” he said. “It tastes like traditional milk without the sweetness you find in other lactose-free milks.”

Miller also said there’s no good science behind claims that what some refer to as “dead cells” in pasteurized milk are what cause milk allergies. And while milk is one of the top allergens for very young children, he said that many of them outgrow the allergies.

What about organic milk?

Oregon dairy farmer Jon Bansen, a member of, and spokesman for, Organic Valley, said he doesn’t think people will abandon organic milk for Fairlife. But even so, he conceded that Coke has a formidable marketing and distribution system.

Referring to the inexpensive ingredients in Coca-Cola and the generally low prices conventional dairy farmers get for their milk, Bansen said that, “What Coke is saying is, ‘What else can we buy cheap and make expensive?’”

Bansen also said that he doesn’t anticipate seeing Fairlife taking over the organic market “until its cows are raised on pasture.”

According to USDA standards, milk that’s sold as organic must come from cows that graze on pasture for the full length of the local grazing season. While the grazing season must last at least 120 days, in many areas it will be much longer.

The organic rules also say that animals must get at least 30 percent of their food from pasture during the grazing season.

While Fairlife states that its cows have access to shelter 24/7, the company doesn’t say anything about how long they’re actually out on pasture each year.

Bansen said the high cost of Fairlife milk might actually nudge consumers over to organic milk, which generally costs more than conventional milk but less than raw milk.

The average price of a gallon of conventional milk is $ 3. On average, a gallon of organic milk costs $ 6. The average price of a gallon of organic raw milk is $ 14. At stores, Organic Pastures’ raw milk sells for about $ 18 a gallon; at the farm, a gallon is $ 12 to walk-in customers and about $ 14 at farmers markets.

Those pin-up girls

Coke ran into a barrage of public outrage, some of it international, over an original advertising scheme that featured pin-up girls scantily clad in “a splash of milk.” One article described the campaign as “heinously sexist.”

The company says it has moved on.

“The pin-ups advertising may have been eye-catching, but we’re taking a totally new approach,” asserts the Fairlife website. “That campaign was retired in June and we’re super excited about what’s to come.”

 

 

 

 

Food Safety News

Will Lactose-Free Fairlife Milk Be Coke’s Next Cash Cow?

Soft-drink giant The Coca-Cola Company will soon be launching a new version of milk branded as Fairlife. The launch is planned for later this month, with sales to begin nationwide next year. “Purely nutritious milk” states the slogan under Fairlife’s name on the containers.

The company’s optimism is riding high for this new lactose-free product, which boasts of containing 50-percent more natural protein, 30-percent more natural calcium, and 50-percent less sugar than ordinary milk.

Sandy Douglas

During a global consumer conference last month, Sandy Douglas, president of Coca-Cola North America, predicted that “it will rain money” once Fairlife gets established in the marketplace. Even so, he acknowledged that it will take considerable investments in the milk business and several years before that happens.

“We’ll charge twice as much for it as the milk we’re used to buying in a jug,” he said during the conference. Conventional prices for milk in a gallon jug vary but typically hover around $ 3.

According to Fairlife’s website, the new product will be sold at a similar price to value-added milks such as organic and lactose-free. It will offer skim and 2-percent milk varieties, plus a sweetened chocolate milk. The calorie count in a glass of 2 percent is 120; in a glass of skim, 80.

“The premiumization of milk” is how Douglas described this new approach to marketing— a challenge to anyone looking at the declining sales of fluid milk in the United States. Back in 1975, when everyone was encouraged to drink three or four glasses a milk a day “for the sake of your health,” per-capita consumption of beverage milk and cream was 262 pounds, according to figures from USDA.

But with increasing concerns about obesity and the adverse health effects of sugar in their diets — along with other beverage options such as flavored water and non-dairy almond and soy milk — Americans are drinking less milk. By 2012, per-capita consumption of beverage milk and cream had fallen to 195 pounds. And, according to some industry gurus, milk sales will continue to drop, which is certainly not a rosy picture for the industry.

So why is Coca-Cola, already seeing overall declines of soft-drink sales in North America, venturing into a marketplace beset with so many obvious challenges? Douglas points to the company’s success with its orange juice brand, Simply, as a good example of how the company can use its marketing knowhow and prowess to capture sales for an already known product “redesigned” to appeal to an ever-growing health-conscious audience.

‘Rising tides lift all boats’

Julia Kadison, CEO of the Milk Processor Education Program (MilkPEP), told Food Safety News in an email that, in today’s increasingly competitive environment, marketing innovation is key to gaining a competitive advantage and keeping consumer attention.

MilkPEP is funded by the nation’s milk processors with the goal of increasing fluid milk consumption.

“The fluid milk category is no exception,” she said. “Consumers want and expect options, and Fairlife provides another one. Coke is well-known for its product and marketing innovation and for reinvigorating mature categories.”

Like Douglas, she cited Simply orange juice as a good example of this.

“Twenty years ago, it was a generic commodity-like offering,” she said “Then Simply came onto the market, and others followed, giving consumers a plethora of choices in terms of product benefits and packaging.”

She also said that Simply and other category innovations have proven that “rising tides lift all boats.” And she predicted that the entrance of Coke’s Fairlife into the fluid milk arena “should be a nice complement” to her organization’s innovative marketing and education campaigns.

How is ‘premiumization’ done?

According to Fairlife’s website, the company, which sources its milk from 90 dairies across the country, has a special proprietary filtration process that allows it to reformulate the milk. The process separates the milk into five key components: water, butterfat, protein, vitamins and minerals and lactose, based on the different molecular shape of each component.

These components are then recombined but in different proportions that what you’d find in ordinary milk. The end result is a lactose-free milk with more protein and calcium and less sugar than ordinary milk.

Another plus, according to the company, is that the milk is chilled to 37 degrees F within three minutes after coming out of the cow, thanks to a special cold filtration system.

In a video about Fairlife, dairy farmer Sue McCloskey refers to consumer interest in healthy products, saying that Fairlife milk is “our first step in providing better nutrition so we can all lead our lives with energy, beauty and vitality.” In another video, she adds courage to the mix.

Business basics

Fairlife was established as a joint venture between Coca-Cola and dairy co-op Select Milk Producers, the company behind Core Power. Select Milk Producers describes itself as “a group of large dairy producers with high quality milk and efficient dairy farm operations.”

Fairlife milk was tested in three markets — Minneapolis, Denver and Chicago. Fairlife spokesperson Melanie Kahn said that those test markets were successful and “have led us to believe there’s a good opportunity to drive growth in the milk category through our compelling new innovation.”

The question of food safety

To begin with, Fairlife’s milk is pasteurized, which means foodborne pathogens such as E. coli, Campylobacter and Salmonella are killed. According to the company’s answers to frequently asked questions, unlike ordinary milk, which is pasteurized at a high temperature for 15-20 seconds, Fairlife’s milk is pasteurized at an even higher temperature for less time. This, the company states, gives its milk a much longer shelf life when it’s unopened. Once opened, its shelf life is the same as ordinary milk.

Out in the marketplace, food safety comes into the picture when considering whether Fairlife will provide consumers who prefer raw milk, which is not pasteurized, with an option that differs from conventional milk.

Many raw-milk consumers say they choose raw milk because their systems can’t tolerate the lactose in conventional milk. Others say they get allergic reactions from drinking conventional milk because the enzymes and bacteria killed during pasteurization remain in the milk as dead cells, which can trigger allergies.

It was not clear whether Fairlife’s filtration process can filter out these “dead cells.”

Mark McAfee, owner of Organic Pastures, the largest raw-milk dairy in the United States, doesn’t expect Fairlife to give raw milk “a run for our money.”

When considering the relatively high price for Fairlife milk, McAfee said that consumers looking for alternatives to conventional milk will likely reach for raw milk, which is also higher priced than conventional milk.

“It’s a dead-end venture,” he said. “Our core consumer wants unprocessed, whole, delicious, easy-to-digest full-fat raw milk from a farmer they know and trust.”

But Greg Miller, chief scientific officer for the National Dairy Council and who is known as “Doctor Dairy,” sees a bright future for Fairlife.

“I think it will be very successful,” he said. “It tastes like traditional milk without the sweetness you find in other lactose-free milks.”

Miller also said there’s no good science behind claims that what some refer to as “dead cells” in pasteurized milk are what cause milk allergies. And while milk is one of the top allergens for very young children, he said that many of them outgrow the allergies.

What about organic milk?

Oregon dairy farmer Jon Bansen, a member of, and spokesman for, Organic Valley, said he doesn’t think people will abandon organic milk for Fairlife. But even so, he conceded that Coke has a formidable marketing and distribution system.

Referring to the inexpensive ingredients in Coca-Cola and the generally low prices conventional dairy farmers get for their milk, Bansen said that, “What Coke is saying is, ‘What else can we buy cheap and make expensive?’”

Bansen also said that he doesn’t anticipate seeing Fairlife taking over the organic market “until its cows are raised on pasture.”

According to USDA standards, milk that’s sold as organic must come from cows that graze on pasture for the full length of the local grazing season. While the grazing season must last at least 120 days, in many areas it will be much longer.

The organic rules also say that animals must get at least 30 percent of their food from pasture during the grazing season.

While Fairlife states that its cows have access to shelter 24/7, the company doesn’t say anything about how long they’re actually out on pasture each year.

Bansen said the high cost of Fairlife milk might actually nudge consumers over to organic milk, which generally costs more than conventional milk but less than raw milk.

The average price of a gallon of conventional milk is $ 3. On average, a gallon of organic milk costs $ 6. The average price of a gallon of organic raw milk is $ 14. At stores, Organic Pastures’ raw milk sells for about $ 18 a gallon; at the farm, a gallon is $ 12 to walk-in customers and about $ 14 at farmers markets.

Those pin-up girls

Coke ran into a barrage of public outrage, some of it international, over an original advertising scheme that featured pin-up girls scantily clad in “a splash of milk.” One article described the campaign as “heinously sexist.”

The company says it has moved on.

“The pin-ups advertising may have been eye-catching, but we’re taking a totally new approach,” asserts the Fairlife website. “That campaign was retired in June and we’re super excited about what’s to come.”

 

 

 

 

Food Safety News

Raw Milk Bill Brought Back in America’s Dairy State

Buoyed by the partial acquittal of Sauk County raw milk producer Vernon Hershberger, a Wisconsin state senator is going to try again to make it legal to sell unpasteurized milk and milk products in the Diary State.

West Bend Republican Sen. Glenn Grothman has dropped a bill into the Wisconsin Legislature that would allow limited sales of raw milk and raw milk products, which he claims are recommended by nutritionists and chiropractors for health benefits.

“Unfortunately, there is a law on the books where technically it’s still illegal to sell raw milk in the state of Wisconsin,” says Grothman. His bill would permit the sale of unpasteurized milk from farms registered with the state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. The same farms would sell buttermilk, kefir, yogurt, ice cream, butter and cheese made with raw milk.

Grothman’s bill, which won’t go to a public hearing until Fall, would allow on the farm sales directly to consumers, but would continue to ban retail sales in stores or farmer’s markets.

A dairy farm that sells raw milk directly to consumers would risk losing their license. The Grothman bill sets up an exemption to that possibility by allowing those interested in selling raw milk to register with DATCP.

The Senator claims farms that register will be under the same requirements, as they would normally have for producing grade A milk regarding cleanliness, temperature, and other safety requirements.

The bill also sets up criteria for clean containers, proper labeling, a posted sign, and compliance with all state rules. As Wisconsin is the nation’s largest dairy state, Grothman will face strong opposition by the multi-billion dollar pasteurized milk industry, which claims raw milk’s frequent outbreaks gives their product a bad name.

A spokesman for the Wisconsin Safe Milk Coalition say it is impossible to make raw milk safe. The Wisconsin Legislature passed a raw milk bill in 2010, but former Gov. Jim Doyle vetoed it. Attempts by Grothman and others since then to permit raw milk have since failed to go anywhere. A task force appointed by Doyle outlined what it would take to make raw milk both safe and legal in Wisconsin, but Grothman has ignored those stiffer requirements and other raw milk advocates.

Scott Walker, the current governor, has indicated he could sign a raw milk bill with sufficient safe guards in it. Unlike most state legislatures in the Midwest, the Wisconsin Legislature meets periodically throughout the year.

Food Safety News

Health Officials Say Raw Milk Probably Caused Campylobacter Outbreak at Wisconsin School

Officials with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services say that unpasteurized (raw) milk served at a potluck team meal is the likely cause of a Campylobacter outbreak that sickened close to a couple dozen Durand High School football players and coaches this past month.

At least 22 members of the football team were sickened after attending a team dinner on Thursday, Sept. 18. State and county health officials investigating the outbreak had compiled a list of all food and drink they had consumed, and raw milk was apparently on the list.

Subsequent lab tests revealed that the bacteria causing the illnesses was Campylobacter jejuni, which is often found in the digestive systems of poultry and cattle and in animal feces.

State health officials interviewed all members of the football team and the coaching staff to determine what activities, foods and beverages, or anything else they may have commonly been exposed to before being sickened. Those interviews revealed that raw milk consumption was the only food item associated with the illnesses.

Officials with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection collected manure samples from the farm where the raw milk was produced, and the test results showed that the bacteria causing the illnesses among those who drank the raw milk was the same strain found on the farm.

Campylobacter is a bacteria which causes gastrointestinal symptom including diarrhea (possibly bloody), cramping and fever within two to five days of exposure. Symptoms typically last about a week, although some of those infected do not exhibit symptoms.

Confirmed Campylobacter cases are usually associated with eating raw or undercooked poultry or meat or from cross-contamination of other foods by these items. Other exposures can come from unpasteurized dairy products and contaminated water, produce or animals. Exposure is also possible from person-to-person, although that is less common.

Food Safety News

Latest Raw Milk Outbreak Blamed on Minnesota Dairy Farm

A Minnesota dairy farm’s raw milk is being blamed for six illnesses, including three that have been laboratory confirmed as Campylobacter jejuni bacteria, according to state epidemiologists.

The outbreak attributed to raw milk was reported Tuesday by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), which said routine disease surveillance was responsible for detecting the six illnesses and linking them to consumption of raw dairy products from the Dennis Jaloszyski dairy farm, located near Cambridge.

The illnesses were reported to state health authorities by local health care providers.

Minnesota Department of Health inspectors visited the farm to finding out how many people purchased the raw milk and to notify them of the outbreak. Jaloszyski claims he does not maintain customer lists, prompting the state to urge anyone who purchased the raw milk to throw it away.

When MDH contacted the six individuals to inquire about potential causes of their illnesses, all reported that they had consumed raw milk from the Jaloszynski Farm.

“We’re concerned that people may be continuing to get sick after consuming products from this farm,” said Trisha Robinson, a foodborne illness epidemiologist with MDH.

“While we are very concerned about the illnesses associated with this farm, this also is about the inherent risk for foodborne illness from any raw milk consumption,” Robinson said. “Drinking raw milk or eating products made from raw milk can expose you to a variety of pathogens that can result in anything from a few days of diarrhea to kidney failure and death. People need to think carefully about those risks before consuming raw dairy products from any source, and people need to know that the risks are especially high for young children.”

Common symptoms of Campylobacter infection include fever, diarrhea (sometimes bloody), abdominal pain, malaise, and vomiting. Symptoms generally begin 2-5 days after consumption of contaminated food. Symptoms last for about a week in most people but last for up to three weeks in 20 percent of cases.

In addition, Campylobacter infection occasionally results in complications such as arthritis and Guillain-Barré syndrome, which is characterized by the sudden onset of paralysis. Anyone who believes they may have become ill with Campylobacter should contact his or her healthcare provider.

Food Safety News

80 Sickened in Utah Campy Outbreak Linked to Raw Milk

At least 80 people fell ill this summer with Campylobacter infections linked to the consumption of unpasteurized milk from a farm in Utah, according to Utah health officials speaking with state lawmakers on Wednesday.

Health officials said that the outbreak also contributed to the death of one immunocompromised man. Twenty percent of cases were hospitalized.

The farm linked to the outbreak, Ropelato Dairy in west Ogden, had its license reinstated on Oct. 3 after testing of samples showed no more sign of contamination, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.

The state of Utah requires raw milk products to bear a label warning consumers of the potential illness risk, but Ropelato’s milk reportedly did not carry that label.

The vast majority of patients were Utah residents, though at least one was from Idaho and one from California. Ages of patients ranged from 2 to 74 years old.

Most illnesses developed between May 9 and July 21. State health officials suspended the dairy’s license to sell milk on Aug. 4.

During a legislative hearing on the outbreak, a number of Utah lawmakers reportedly said that they did not want this incident to lead to restrictions on raw milk sales in the state.

State law allows raw milk dairies in Utah to sell products directly to consumers as long as they own the store selling the products. Retail sales at stores not owned by the dairy are not allowed.

Raw milk in Utah is also subject to monthly testing for pathogens, and the animals must be tested every six months.

Food Safety News

Children in KY E. Coli Outbreak Drank Milk From Raw Milk Dairy

The five Kentucky children hospitalized in an E. coli outbreak earlier this month all consumed milk from the same raw milk dairy, according to multiple reports and the mother of one of the sickened children.

The Kentucky Department for Public Health has not announced the source of the outbreak. Microbial testing of animals, milk samples, and environmental samples from the dairy in question came back negative for E. coli.

Since tests at the dairy did not reveal any contamination, the state health department did not order the dairy to suspend sales.

The state health department has not returned calls from Food Safety News looking for updates on the outbreak investigation. On Thursday, a spokesman for the Lincoln Trail District Health Department in Elizabethtown, KY, said that the state health department would be publishing an update by Friday, but it had not yet surfaced as of Monday evening.

Because no additional illnesses have been reported since the outbreak announcement, the source of contamination is not believed to pose a continuing public health threat, the spokesman said.

Amy Nordyke, the mother of an 18-month-old boy hospitalized in the outbreak, told Food Safety News that each of the children sickened in the outbreak belong to families in the same food club that allows legal access to raw milk from one dairy.

Raw milk is not legal to sell at retail in Kentucky, but residents can buy into food clubs — or herd shares — through which raw milk can be legally purchased.

Nordyke’s son fell ill with hemolytic uremic syndrome, a kidney disease associated with severe E. coli infections. He spent most of September in the hospital, but was discharged last week and is recovering.

Nordyke said three other children from her family’s food club were checked into the same children’s hospital at the same time as her son. Each of those children was also given raw milk by their parents, she said.

After the five children fell ill in early September, the food club advised its members to dispose of any remaining raw milk as a precaution, according to well-respected raw milk journalist David Gumpert. The club did not order any more milk for two weeks, but recently began ordering it again, Gumpert said.

Food Safety News will continue to watch for an update from the Kentucky Department for Public Health. As with many foodborne illness outbreaks, the investigation may not uncover enough evidence to conclusively pinpoint a source.

Young children are more susceptible to foodborne illness compared to healthy adults due to having developing immune systems. Populations with greater susceptibility to foodborne pathogens also include pregnant women, the elderly, and immunocompromised individuals.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, raw milk is 150 times more likely to cause foodborne illness compared to pasteurized milk, and it hospitalizes 13 times more individuals than pasteurized dairy products.

Food Safety News