I haven't been back to this blog in a very long time, which means I have to apologize to all those commenters who got hung up by my needing to approve comments.
One big reason I stopped posting here was that nothing was left to be said. After 1500 posts, I found I was repeating myself. That's not fun.
So if I'm back, there must be big news. I mean, really BIG news in the lactose free world.
What could possibly be bigger than the biggest soft drink company in the world rolling out a line of lactose-free milks?
Here's the brief version, as given by Christopher Seward on The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Biz Beat Blog:
Atlanta-based Coca-Cola Co. has the largest-selling soft drink brand around the globe and now it’s “got milk.”
Douglas called Fairlife, the name of the new product, “the premiumization of milk.” According to a transcript of his appearance, the executive said the product tastes better than regular milk and is better for you due to “a proprietary milk filtering process that allows you to increase protein by 50 percent take sugar down by 30 percent and have no lactose.”
But Fairlife won’t be cheap. “[We’ll] charge twice as much for it as the milk we used to buying in a jug,” Douglas said, according to Seeking Alpha transcript of his remarks. A price was not provided.
Coca-Cola has been investing more in non-carbonated beverages such as juices and teas, given a decline in soda sales not only for the company for also for its competitors, especially in North America as health-conscious consumers seek out more nutritious alternatives.
Fairlife is a Chicago company that also makes Core Power lactose-free protein drinks and has partnered with Pinkberry on yogurt development.
They have a long section of FAQs on this new milk.
The national announcement and rollout brought sudden attention to the advertising campaign they ran in test markets in the spring. Fairlife used images from a pin-up girls calendar of models apparently wearing dresses made from milk, a campaign introduced last year by AurumLight.com from photographer Jaroslav Wieczorkiewicz. Multitudes online blasted for the campaign for being sexist, which of course it was, and wondering what pin-up girls wearing milk dresses have to do with selling a new premium milk, which of course is an easily answerable question. Coke is of course not using the already expired campaign.
Is fairlife purely nutritious milk™ real milk?Absolutely! It’s 100% real with amazing taste and better nutrition because of our nifty filtration process. Watch our short video to see how it’s done!
Where does the extra protein and calcium come from in fairlife purely nutritious milk™?It comes directly from the milk! We filter our milk into its five components (water, butterfat, protein, vitamins & minerals, lactose) and then recombine them in different proportions. So we never need to add protein or calcium powders – it’s already in the milk!
Is fairlife purely nutritious milk™ natural?Our skim and 2% milks are natural, but our chocolate milk is sweetened for your pleasure.
Is fairlife purely nutritious milk™ organic?Just like organic milk, we never treat our cows with rBST growth hormones. However, we offer them 24/7 shelter and protection from the elements, while organic milk cows aren’t able to have the same luxury. Visit our flagship farm to see our industry-leading sustainability and cow comfort in practice.
Is fairlife purely nutritious milk™ safe for kids?Sure! After all, it’s real milk. It has as much protein as a typical greek yogurt, with 50% more calcium and half the sugar of ordinary milk. It’s a nutritious part of a daily diet for all ages.
Why does fairlife purely nutritious milk™ have a longer shelf life than ordinary milk?It’s simply in the processing. Ordinary milk is pasteurized at a high temperature for 15-20 seconds. We pasteurize our milk at an even higher temperature for less time. That gives fairlife much longer shelf life unopened. After opening, its shelf life is the same as ordinary milk.
Where are the fairlife farms?We source our milk from the farm families that founded fairlife. These farms are located all over the country, with our flagship farm in Fair Oaks, Indiana, open to visitors year-round. Come see us!
Why is fairlife purely nutritious milk™ lactose-free and does it taste different?Some people find that lactose (the natural sugar found in milk) upsets their stomachs, so we take it out so everyone can enjoy fairlife. You won’t be able to taste the difference (unlike other lactose-free milks).
Is fairlife packaging recyclable?Yes, our bottles are #7 recyclable. To find out how to recycle your plastic locally, go to earth911.com, click on ‘recycling search’, select the ‘plastic’ icon, select #7 plastic bottles and input your zip code.
There are other and better places to vent outrage. What you need to know is whether the actual product is worthy or not. Molly Blake on the Today show website talked to registered dietitian Michelle Dudash:
“It has a lot of really good qualities,” said Dudash, author of “Clean Eating for Busy Families.” The beverage boasts it contains 50 percent more natural protein and 30 percent more natural calcium than regular milk, as well as 50 percent less sugar.
And it’s lactose free,” added Dudash, an obvious boon to the millions of Americans who suffer from an intolerance to lactose and can't enjoy some of the health benefits that regular milk has been shown to have.
A diet that includes 8 oz. of milk a day is associated with healthy bones and teeth among other health benefits. A study by the University of Massachusetts at Amherst found that women can lower their risk of PMS by drinking either skim or low-fat milk all month long.
But sales of milk have been flattening out since the 1970’s and half of US adults don’t drink milk. One reason is that milk is perceived to be fattening and sugar-filled.
“Milk isn’t the enemy when it comes to sugar,” said Dudash. “But for diabetics and anyone who is really watching their carbohydrate intake closely, the 6 grams of difference between regular milk and Fairlife can be significant.”
The added protein and calcium also make Fairlife attractive, as it’s essential to have a diet that includes protein from a variety of sources including lean meats, nuts, seeds and milk.
“Fairlife, therefore, can be a good item to add to your protein portfolio,” said Dudash.
Lactose free milk has been available at every major supermarket for years, if not decades. It's normally far more expensive than regular milk mostly because it is made in tiny quantities and so doesn't enjoy the economy of scale that allows regular milk to be sold so cheaply. Fairlife won't change this. It's being billed as "premium" milk, so it may be even more expensive than easily available alternatives. Pricing hasn't been made public yet. The extra protein is a nice selling point, but not a game-changer.
What changes everything is Coke's marketing power. You'll be borbarded with ads about fairlife (small-f) until milk will run out of your eyes and ears. Bad thing? Nope. That's the only way to build awareness in today's world. (And yesterday's, for that matter. Coke figured it out a century ago.) Let's wait and see what happens when it's in every store.