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    Coca-Cola to Distribute Its First Dairy Beverage in U.S.

    Core Power workout-recovery shake will ship to several states starting in July.

    NEW YORK -- Coca-Cola Co. will distribute its first dairy beverage to several states starting in July, according to a Wall Street Journal report. Core Power, a high-protein workout-recovery shake, is owned by Fair Oaks Farm Brands and will ship to approximately 10,000 groceries, convenience stores and specialty stores by fall 2012 through the distribution deal.

    "This new brand is part of an exciting category for consumers and retailers that is still in the early stage of its growth potential," said Deryck van Rensburg, president of Coke's North America venturing and emerging brands unit in a written statement.

    Core Power, which comes in 11.5-ounce plastic bottles and retails for about $3, comes in honey, chocolate, vanilla and strawberry banana flavors. It test launched in 2009 in Texas under the name Athletes HoneyMilk before being rolled out in Colorado. Coca-Cola's initial distribution will expand its presence to Arizona, Indiana and Illinois.

    The lactose-free milk-and-honey shake competes with products such as CytoSport's Muscle Milk, Abbott Laboratories' EAS MYoplex and other high-protein shakes and soluble powders that help muscles recover and rebuild following a workout, according to the report. Stephen Jones, chief executive of Fair Oaks Farm Brands and former chief marketing officer for Coca-Cola, estimated that the U.S. market for muscle-recovery and strength-building protein aids is approximately $2 billion annually, and the subset of protein beverages is about $500 million annually.

    Fair Oaks Farm Brands explored several distribution options before signing with Coca-Cola, Jones told the Chicago Tribune. "Coke was the one that really had the commitment to health and wellness and nutrition," he explained.

    Coca-Cola does not have an equity stake in Fair Oaks Farm Brands and declined to state whether it will acquire it in the future, according to the report. Nearly 400 million bottles of Core Power have sold so far this year, reported the company.

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