At Expo West 2019, FoodBev’s Harriet Jachec spoke with Julie Smolyansky, CEO of Lifeway Foods, about the growing trend towards plant-based dairy alternatives and kefir – trends that are helping to shape Lifeway’s product portfolio.
The company has developed Plantiful, a range of dairy-free drinks with probiotics that are available in four different flavours: plain, coconut-vanilla, mixed berry and tropical fruit.
Smolyansky explained the demand among consumers: “Market research shows that in the next two years, 40% of the dairy space will be dairy alternatives, so consumers are demanding it and we’re really excited to be launching Plantiful. The quality is great, the taste is great, I think we really nailed it with the formula.”
As for kefir – the high-protein cultured milk smoothie leading the fermented foods revolution – Smolyansky has a personal connection to the product.
“Kefir is a 2,000-year-old product that originated in the Caucus Mountains and it has a rich folklore history, very artisanal quality and style of production,” she says. “My parents and I were refugees from the former Soviet Union and when they came to the United States, they realised that there was no kefir. They really missed this product, and they needed it for their health; they use it preventatively for all these medical conditions.
“They launched Lifeway over 30 years ago, and we’ve been really leading the conversation about the benefits of kefir, of probiotics, of fermented foods. The science and research now is finally catching up to what our ancestors have known all along: that when they consume kefir, they experience a sense of wellbeing and of good feeling. It’s considered a gift from the Gods.
“This story is so rich, and when you combine this great folklore and history with today’s science and research, and the quality that Lifeway has brought to this category… it’s really a powerful combination.”
Presented by: Harriet Jachec
Edited by: Alex Clere
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2019
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