After reading all the marketing spiel and outpouring of reviews about Coca-Cola’s new Fairlife milk I decided I really had to take the taste test for myself to work out what was what with this new product.
It’s been dubbed, by Coca-Cola themselves, naturally, “super milk.” The milk contains 50 percent more “natural” protein and calcium than regular milk and 30 percent less sugar thanks to a special filtration process. So far, reviews have been mixed.
Firstly, let me say that the two places where I usually shop — Whole Foods or Roots Organic Market — did not stock this milk. I don’t know if this is the store’s decision, or they just haven’t got in yet, but where I did find it was in Giant. I was surprised by the small bottles and the not-very-obvious nor prominent position in the chiller given that this milk is driven by Coca-Cola, the kings of marketing.
We usually have in the fridge at home Horizon organic low fat skim milk, and the only time my husband has this milk is on cereal or in coffee. I just use Almond milk for smoothies and making my steel cut oats, so we’re not big milk folk, as you can tell. The Fairlife milk we were testing was the reduced fat variety in a blue-ish/white-ish bottle.
My husband did this test “blind.” I decided to use blue solo cups, since this was not really deemed a red solo cup occasion, what with it being, er, milk.
Taste test one – reduced fat milk
“That one tastes good” (First taste of Horizon)
“That one tastes slightly weird” (First taste of Fairlife)
Tastes again …
“Yep, prefer the first one.” (Horizon wins!)
My turn. The cups are mixed up and I am blindfolded — not in a Fifty Shades of Grey way, though, just to clarify.
“Tastes creamy.” (Horizon)
“Tastes bland. Like that milk we used to get at school that had a 6-year shelf life.” (Fairlife)
Don’t feel like trying either again, though, so I guess Horizon wins hands down for that round.
My husband is impressed with the information presented on the Fairlife packaging — “Oooh, less sugar. That has to be better right?” He begins to ask if he should drink more milk. I reply that he could only possibly do this if he chose to drink less beer. He gets a beer out of the fridge to contemplate this.
Next up, and pre-total beer consumption for my husband, we venture toward the chocolate milk taste test. I drink a couple of chocolate milk cartons a week after working out, or when I have a sweet craving, which is often these days, sadly. I choose to drink Orgain Healthy Kids chocolate milk, which also has a fruit and veggie blend. It’s meant for kids, but whatever. I’ve spied you eyeing up my adult beverages often enough, kiddiwinks.
The Fairlife chocolate milk is reduced fat ultra filtered and is brown packaging, the color of chocolate, so that we don’t get confused about the bottles.
Taste test two – chocolate milk
“Powdery.” (First taste Orgain)
“That’s much, much nicer!” (First taste Fairlife)
He looks at them both in the blue solo cups. “I like the look of the darker one better, which one’s that?” “ ’Tis Fairlife, sir. It does look very dark and rich and creamy and rather enticing.”
My turn. I’m closing my eyes this time (the blindfold creeped me out slightly).
“Light.” (First taste Orgain)
“Oh my God, I LOVE that!” (First taste Fairlife).
I look down and see the dark, rich creaminess of Fairlife chocolate milk in the cup with its natural and artificial (ugh) flavouring and I feel mortified that my instinct is to drink up this entire bottle in one large, unnecessary mouthful. But I don’t. I stick the straw in the Orgain box and finish it off, feeling all self righteous. If I were to drink the Fairlife chocolate milk, I actually think it would warrant a red solo cup. It tastes that rockin’. There, I said it.
The thing with the Fairlife milk that is putting me off is its association with Coca-Cola. I don’t drink Coke. Not even with whisky (I have ginger beer with that now 😉 ). And I feel like the words “ultra filtered” on the Fairlife packaging is slightly off putting, like it’s not actually from cows, but from machines. To top it off, I don’t like the plastic packaging, and I really didn’t want to like the chocolate milk, but I did, and so be it.
Fairlife offers protein by the bucket load (milk bucket load). They claim it has more protein and calcium and less sugar than regular milk. Nutrition wise, I just feel it’s so very, very processed and as far from the natural thing as you can get. They say the reverse.
But I like the look of the folks on the Fairlife website who’ve obviously invested their entire life savings into this project, so I want it all to work for Mike and Sue McCloskey, who claim that “high quality, great tasting nutrition starts with high quality milk that comes from better sustainable farming and extraordinary animal care.” Not a bad statement at all, and one I want to believe in because I believe in farms and sustainable and responsible farming and happy cows and wotnot. So good luck to you guys!
To be fair, it’s just the Coca-Cola association that’s leaving a bitter taste in my mouth.
Claire Bolden McGill is a British expat living in Maryland, which means she still drinks tea, but now has it with a corn muffin instead of a crumpet. Coming from a full- time job as a communications and PR manager in the UK, Claire and her family made the move the States in August 2012 and haven’t looked back since. Claire is a fitness instructor and blogger. She blogs about fitness and what it’s like to be a Brit in the USA, as well as trying to find time to write her novel and short stories, make lists about things she should do like clean the house and bake things, and be an utterly doting wife and mother. @ukhousewifeusa