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Mexican juice firm part-owned by Coke signs dairy deal as US partner speaks out

By Ben Bouckley , 05-Jul-2012
Last updated on 05-Jul-2012 at 17:14 GMT

The Coca-Company has made a further move into the dairy sphere, this time as a stakeholder in Mexican juice company Jugos del Valle, which has just sealed an agreement with dairy firm Santa Clara in the country.

The nature of the agreement and its value has not been disclosed, but the Mexican Federal Competition Commission will discuss the deal in a meeting  today, according to Reuters.

Juice producer Jugos del Valle - which employs around 1,700 staff - is jointly owned by the Coca-Cola Company, Coca-Cola FEMSA (Coke's largest bottler in Mexico) and Coca-Cola's remaining Mexican and Brazilian bottlers - and was acquired via a joint venture company for around $370m in 2007.

In March 2011, Coke FEMSA also acquired a Panama dairy company, Grupo Industries Lacteas, in its first dairy industry venture. The value of that deal was undisclosed, although the latter firm reported a turnover of $140m in 2010.

Coke's first US dairy foray

On June 21 we broke the news that Coca-Cola had agreed to distribute dairy-based sports recovery beverage Core Power using its fleet , a move that market the multinational's first dairy foray in the US, moving beyond juice, waters and soda.

Anders Porter, director of communications for Core Power brandowner, Fair Oaks Farms Brands, later told BeverageDaily.com: "The distribution agreement with Coca Cola will see us through a strategic regional and then national launch of Core Power.

"After much interest from a number of distribution companies, Core Power chose to work with Coca-Cola because of the tremendous opportunity to grow our brand.

"By tapping into the far-reaching distribution channels that Coca-Cola has to offer, we saw the immediate possibility of taking Core Power's protein, taste and simple ingredient list to people all over the country who are looking for more healthy alternatives to the current line-up of post workout recovery drinks."

Porter declined to put a dollar value on the Core Power brand, but said that Core Power (test marketed as Athletes Honey Milk from 2009) initially saw tremendous success in Texas and Colorado, and in 32 months grew from an online only product to one that was available in around 500 retail outlets.

Core Power's mass market ambition

He added that Core Power's success was due to its taste: "When people find out that our balanced protein is the same ratio of whey and casein protein that is naturally found in milk, that we do not ever use powders in our product, and that it is made from a very simply ingredient list, they are driven even more to incorporate the product into their workout routines.  

"For years, people have been plugging their noses and struggling through awful tasting, chalky protein drinks after lifting weights, playing sports or exercising," he added, before name-dropping 'religious' Core Power users: triathletes Craig Alexander and Laura Bennett and cyclist Tom Danielson.

Said Porter: "We now are aiming to broaden our target to include all types of fitness enthusiasts - from team sport athletes and weekend warriors to yoga and pilates enthusiasts - and everything in between."

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