Lifeway Foods Inc., Morton Grove, Ill., a supplier of kefir beverages, acquired the assets of N.J.-based First Juice Inc., creator of organic fruit and vegetable juice beverages designed for children.
The transaction builds on Lifeway’s entry into the children’s market with its ProBugs line of children’s organic kefir, opens potential new distribution channels for existing Lifeway products, and marks the first step in a strategic diversification into non-dairy-based health beverages, the company said.
First Juice offers four juice flavors that are made from organic produce and are lower in sugar than comparable products, Lifeway said. The line is sold at Babies R Us, Toys R Us, Whole Foods Market, Ralphs, Amazon.com and Diapers.com. The company’s Apple+Carrot, Banana+Carrot, Blueberry+Purple Carrot and Peach+Purple Carrot juices are available in 8-ounce and 32-ounce bottles.
“The market for healthy children’s beverages and other foods that promote healthy children’s eating habits is clearly growing,” said Julie Smolyansky, chief executive officer of Lifeway Foods in a statement. “We’ve seen it with our ProBugs Kefir products, as well as in the calls to improve children’s nutrition everywhere from the media to the White House. Adding First Juice to our product portfolio strengthens our offerings in this increasingly important market space, provides cross-marketing and channel expansion opportunities, and gives us a strong new platform for building revenues.”
Lifeway’s acquisition of First Juice assets is expected to close October 4. The purchase price for the assets of the company was $220,000. First Juice recorded more than $1.7 million in sales in 2009. Smolyansky previously had served as a board member of First Juice since 2006.