Coca-Cola has said it has “no plans” to bring its Fairlife milk brand to the UK, despite registering a trademark for the product this month with the Intellectual Property Office.
The brand has been registered under the IPO’s class 29 for beverages consisting principally of milk. However, Coke was tightlipped over its plans for the UK when approached by The Grocer this week, with a spokeswoman merely stating registering trademarks was “common practice to protect brands”.
Fairlife is a lactose-free milk that has gone through a special filtering process and therefore contains more protein and calcium, and less sugar, than conventional milk. The range uses milk collected by members of the Fairlife co-op and is marketed by Coke across the US through a joint venture.
Since launching in February 2015 it has gained nationwide listings across the US’s major supermarket chains, and was ranked as America’s fourth best food and beverage launch of 2015 after raking in value sales of $87.1m (£66.9m) [IRI New Product Pacesetters 2016].
Despite Coke’s reticence, the UK market would be much more receptive to such an added-value milk product now, compared to when Fairlife was first launched in America during 2015, said Hamish Renton, MD of food consultancy HRA Associates.
Given the amount of NPD activity in the dairy category recently, bringing Fairlife to the UK would be a “smart move” Renton suggested.
“But its success would rely on a differentiated proposition in what is now becoming a crowded market, with new organic, free-range and functional milk products all going on sale during the past two years, not to mention the ‘farmer’s’ own-label milk we have seen.”