The company has bought a stake in Fair Oaks Farms Brands, owner of Core Power, a high protein milk shake that the Atlanta-based beverage giant began distributing two months ago.
The size of the stake and price of the deal, which the company has entered into with partner Select Milk Producers, was not disclosed.
The move is the first step Coca-Cola has made in the $12 billion dairy sector, a market in which the company has no North American products. And it comes as Americans have shown an appetite for drinks beyond Coca-Cola’s carbonated offerings, the biggest portion of its business.
“Consumers are looking to diversify their beverage consumption,” said John Sicher, editor and publisher of industry publication Beverage Digest. “Protein and enhanced dairy are certainly a potential area for growth.”
The company has responded, adding teas, enhanced water and juices to its product mix. In September, Coca-Cola jumped into the nascent category of flavor enhancers for water when it unveiled Dasani Drops. The pocket-sized product allows consumers to add drops of strawberry kiwi, pink lemonade or mixed berry flavors to water for an elevated kick.
The Core Power effort also signaled Coca-Cola’s effort to be more nimble in responding to consumer trends. Some have said the company was slow to pick up on the growth of energy drinks, a fact that has led to speculation that Coca-Cola wants to buy Monster, the titan of the category.
At least $100,000 worth of business at Chase’s Do It Best Hardware in Gainesville shuffles out the door and onto the Internet each year to avoid sales taxes, in business manager Craig Shoemaker’s estimation.