Coca-Cola Company (TCCC) aligned milk maker Fairlife is heading west as construction is set to begin this year on a new 300,000-square-foot production facility in Goodyear, Ariz. The brand, which was launched in 2014 by Select Milk Producers in collaboration with Coke, anticipates the $200 million facility will be online by the second half of 2020.
Fairlife currently has manufacturing facilities in Michigan and Texas. Estimating that across its entire product portfolio the brand is “available in at least 75 percent of the available outlets in the country,” COO Tim Doelman told BevNET the new facility will help the company go deeper in the West Coast and Southwest regions, expand its product mix with existing customers, and further grow its retail market penetration nationwide.
“Arizona is a very pro-business state with a great labor force,” Doelman said. “We’re super happy about the location in Goodyear and to work with the local communities there to move forward. The state has been incredibly receptive to our business, so it was a really simple decision for us. It’s an optimal location to service the West Coast and still expand the footprint in a super economical way from the supply chain side of things.”
The facility is expected to create more than 140 local jobs and is located in proximity to dairy farms in order to streamline the supply chain. The company will partner with the United Dairymen of Arizona co-op to work directly with farmers.
Doelman added that the plant’s location is well positioned geographically for an eventual international expansion into Mexico and Pacific Rim nations.
“We’ll have a great source of milk that is competitive,” he said. “It’s healthy for the business and healthy for the farmers, who we know are going to be here for the next 20, 30, 40 years.”
In addition to its core “Ultra-Filtered” milk products, Fairlife also markets a number of functional lines including protein shake Core Power, better-for-you Smart Snacks, and the newly launched Nutrition Plan, which contains added vitamins and nutrients. Doelman said the added production capacity gives the brand more space to develop new innovations which will “come out over the next couple of years.”
While the facility will primarily manufacture Fairlife products, Doelman said it may also be used to manufacture other Coke aligned products “that are along the same type” of beverages as Fairlife, but will not be equipped to make carbonated soft drinks. Fairlife is a part of TCCC’s Venturing and Emerging Brands (VEB) unit.
“We really work across a platform of groups within Coke to leverage their insights that they have on the selling side, the marketing side, and we combine that with our expertise in the supply chain and farming side that The Select Group brought to the table,” Doelman said. “It makes for a powerful combination of assets that we’re able to leverage in the marketplace.”