Dairy Foods has selected Chicago-based fairlife LLC as the 2015 Processor of the Year. The reasons include the development of innovative dairy-based products, investments in manufacturing, a focus on health and wellness, and efforts in sustainable manufacturing, said editor-in-chief Jim Carper.

fairlife LLC is owned by the dairy cooperative Select Milk Producers and The Coca-Cola Co. Select Milk Producers markets over 6 billion pounds of milk annually. Some of its milk is sold to milk bottlers and cheesemakers throughout the United States. Co-op members are located primarily in Texas, New Mexico, Michigan and Indiana.

fairlife created a proprietary ultra-filtration process that boosts the natural protein and calcium found in milk and reduces its natural sugars. A cup of fairlife milk contains 13 grams of protein (compared to 8 in conventional milk) and half the sugar (6 grams instead of 12 grams); it’s also lactose-free.

Other products from fairlife include YUP! (a reduced-sugar flavored milk for teens and young adults), Core Power (a high-protein recovery milkshake for fitness enthusiasts and athletes) and Greek yogurt (sold through foodservice, including Chick-fil-A and others).

The beverages are manufactured at the company’s plant in Coopersville, Mich., where fairlife is adding a third filling line to accommodate consumer demand for the products. The plant operates around the clock, seven days a week.

The company will be featured in the December issue of Dairy Foods. A formal presentation of the award will be made in January during the International Dairy Foods Association’s Dairy Forum in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Previous recipients of the award include:
• The Dannon Co. (2014)
• HP Hood (2013)
• Chobani (2012)
• Kraft Foods (2011)
• Organic Valley (2010)
• Sargento (2009)
• Publix (2008)
• Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream (2007)