Lifeway Foods' president Julie Smolyansky says customer service and innovation are key to the continued growth of the company.

MORTON GROVE, Ill.-Lifeway Foods, Inc., an Illinois-based manufacturer of cultured, probiotic and functional food products, plans to purchase a privately held gourmet cream cheese producer based in the Philadelphia area.

The deal, which is expected to be completed by September, will expand Lifeway's product portfolio and give the company a foothold in new markets in Philadelphia, New Jersey and New York.

"This company produces and sells an excellent line of gourmet cream cheeses, as well as products similar to our own farmer's cheese," says Julie Smolyansky, Lifeway Foods' president. "This addition to Lifeway Foods provides the company with several strategic advantages with the most important being that it now gives us our own distribution system on the East Coast. This will allow us to more cost effectively distribute Lifeway's existing product lines to these large and important Philadelphia, New York and New Jersey markets. These are significant Kefir markets and we believe they can also be important markets for our LaFruta, Lo Carb Kefir and other product lines."

Lifeway is America's leading supplier of the cultured dairy product known as kefir. The Company markets 12 flavors of kefir and does a successful business exporting its products to Canada. The company also participates in the organic and soy markets with Lifeway Organic, Organic Kefir and Kefir Cheese, and America's first soy kefir called SoyTreat.