Lifeway Coconut Chia KefirLifeway Foods Inc., (Nasdaq: LWAY), said its gross sales increased 16% for the year. Sales totaled approximately $89.8 million compared to $77.1 million in 2011. The Morton Grove, Ill.-based company makes the cultured dairy product known as kefir. Its brands include Kefir, ProBugs Organic Kefir for kids and BioKefir.

Cost of goods sold as a percentage of net sales, excluding depreciation expense, were approximately 64% during 2012, compared to approximately 67% in 2011.

"In 2012, we continued to execute on our strategic goals as we increased awareness and distribution of Lifeway's kefir products to report record sales and earnings results," said Lifeway CEO Julie Smolyansky in a statement.

 "We are confident about our future growth and we expect 2013 to be another year of strong sales and profitability as new and existing consumers choose Lifeway Foods as a provider of wholesome, nutritious kefir products for themselves and their families. Additionally, we expect gross revenues for our first quarter 2013, which ended March 29, 2013, to be approximately 30% higher when compared to the same period in 2012, and we expect to continue this momentum throughout the year."

Lifeway ranks No. 94 on the 2012 Dairy 100, Dairy Foods' annual ranking of North America's largest dairy processors.

Listen to an "All Things Dairy" podcast with Julie Smolyansky in which she talks about coconut-chia kefir, voted the Best New Dairy Product of 2012.