Darigold Inc., Seattle, said consumer demand for Darigold FIT milk is growing rapidly. Launched in the Pacific Northwest market last year, FIT has doubled in sales and distribution over the past six months.
The milk has 75% more protein and 40% less sugar than traditional milk. To support this growth, Darigold said it will invest $67 million in its Boise, Idaho, facility this year.
FIT was developed in response to consumer trends that demand “better for you” products that are also delicious and convenient. Using ultrafiltration, FIT is designed to give consumers the taste they want while being lactose-free and high in protein without introducing anything artificial. Darigold said it recently added whole milk to the existing 2% white and 2% chocolate milk lineup.
The investment in Boise not only will expand FIT, but also will serve as a platform for relaunching other classic Darigold beverages.
“We will deliver a better package for both our consumers and channel partners,” said Duane Naluai, Darigold’s senior vice president behind the new product.
The investment includes a major capacity expansion, as well as modern aseptic packaging to produce FIT as a shelf-stable product that can be shipped and stored without refrigeration, Darigold said. The project will generate 15 new positions in Boise. It will also reduce the company’s environmental footprint as it relates to water use, plastic, corrugated material and overall energy use.
Many of the local farmers who supply the milk and sponsored the development of FIT are based in Washington state.
“This is yet another example of innovation coming from the entrepreneurial spirit of our farmers, building on a tradition of constantly striving to provide more nutritious products in more sustainable ways,” said Tony Veiga, chairman of the Dairy Farmers of Washington’s board of directors. “Darigold and the co-op’s farmers certainly do dairy in a responsible way.”
The first production run using the shelf-stable packaging is anticipated for fall 2020, marking the first of its kind in the Northwest.