Julie Smolyansky

Julie Smolyansky, CEO of Morton Grove, Ill.-based Lifeway Foods, joins us for Episode 20 of our “Let’s Talk Dairy” podcast.

At the age of 27, Smolyansky became the youngest female CEO of a publicly held firm when she began leading Lifeway Foods in 2002. Since then, Smolyansky has continued the company’s growth trajectory with creative product development and marketing to bring kefir, the company’s flagship product, into the U.S. mainstream. 

Under her leadership, the company has expanded distribution throughout the United States, Mexico, the UK, Ireland and France, as well as portions of Central and South America and the Caribbean. She is an emeritus member of the United Nations Foundation Global Entrepreneurs Council and was part of the 2015 class of Young Global Leaders of the World Economic Forum. 

Smolyansky has produced several documentaries, including “The Homestretch,” “Honor Diaries," “The Hunting Ground” and most recently, “On the Record.” In March 2018, Smolyansky released her first book, The Kefir Cookbook: An Ancient Healing Superfood for Modern Life, Recipes from My Family Table, and Around the World.

In this episode, Smolyansky discusses:

  • What kefir is and why Lifeway Foods calls it “The Champagne of Dairy.”
  • The immunity benefits of kefir.
  • Formulating products with immunity benefits that also provide excellent taste.
  • If the current consumer desire for healthier products is a long-term trend.
  • Lifeway Foods’ Ukranian relief efforts.

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