MORTON GROVE, Ill., May 11, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Lifeway Foods, Inc. (Nasdaq: LWAY) announced today that CEO Julie Smolyansky, CFO Edward Smolyansky and Lifeway's management team and associates will be ringing the NASDAQ closing bell in New York City's Times Square at 4 pm on Monday, May 16, to celebrate the company's 25th anniversary as well as the introduction of Lifeway Frozen Kefir in grocery stores. Lifeway's new good-for-you frozen yogurt alternative is the latest addition to an extensive line of kefir dairy beverages and associated probiotic foods that today generates $65 million in annual company revenue, dominating the kefir market.
As part of Lifeway's New York stopover, the company will also distribute 20,000 samples of its frozen kefir from branded pushcarts at key Big Apple gathering points to give New Yorkers a preview of its new guilt-free, 90-calorie, at-home freezer treat. In addition, Lifeway will hand out VIP Frozen Kefir coupons and Keep NYC Cultured buttons – a reference to the live probiotic cultures contained in every sip or spoonful of Lifeway kefir products.
The New York festivities are the culmination of a nationwide tour commemorating Lifeway's silver anniversary. Kicking off in March in Anaheim, California, with stops at grocery stores, college campuses and festivals from coast to coast, the tour was an 11-week kefir party featuring sampling of multiple kefir beverage flavors, human-powered "blender bikes" making Lifeway Kefir smoothies, digital games, Foursquare check-in prizes, and a retro theme harkening back to the company's roots in the 1980s.
The tour raised $25,000 for Healthy Kids Challenge, a non-profit organization that promotes healthy eating and physical activity for children. Lifeway pledged to donate $1 for every minute pedaled on a blender bike by tour guests. The company tapped Healthy Kids Challenge as its chosen charity because the organization shares Lifeway's commitment to good nutrition and a healthy lifestyle, as reflected in the low-fat, low-calorie, probiotic properties of Lifeway's kefir products.
Lifeway has also marked its 25 years of "active culture" with a limited-edition Lifeway Birthday Cake Flavor Kefir that has been so popular that it will remain in the company's kefir lineup indefinitely.
"This is a time when we at Lifeway are looking backward and forward in equal measure – back to a quarter-century of new flavor and product developments that have fueled the company's growth and transformed kefir from a niche product to a mainstream food, and forward with our new industry-first Lifeway Frozen Kefir," said Julie Smolyansky. "We have built a huge base of kefir consumers that continues to expand as more people look for natural, healthy, convenient food options that also taste good. That is something to celebrate – both for us and for our customers."
Lifeway Foods was founded in 1986 as the first U.S. company dedicated to manufacturing kefir, a milk-based cultured drink that is popular in Russia but that was virtually unknown in North America at the time. More nutritious than yogurt, Lifeway Kefir has a creamy texture similar to a milkshake, is gluten-free and 99% lactose-free, and contains 12 active probiotic cultures said by researchers to provide health benefits including immunity and digestion support.
Today Lifeway's products include low-fat kefir in 11 flavors as well as holiday, organic and non-fat varieties, plus Green Kefir with Phytoboost™ featuring a proprietary blend of health-promoting green nutrients, BioKefir™ 3.5 oz. kefir power shots in a range of flavors at just 60 calories a shot, and the ProBugs™ kids' line of fruit-flavored kefir smoothies. Lifeway products are sold at more than 10,000 retailers nationwide, including recent additions Costco, BJ's, Safeway, Walmart and Aldi. Fans include professional chefs, health/nutrition professionals, and fashion industry insiders as well as consumers.
Lifeway also operates a chain of Starfruit™ Cafes selling frozen kefir, kefir smoothies and kefir parfaits with a variety of toppings.
The new packaged Lifeway Frozen Kefir now debuting in stores is the first kefir product to be sold in the grocery freezer aisle, providing an extra-healthy snack/dessert replacement for ice cream or frozen yogurt. Strawberry, pomegranate, mango and original flavors are available in one-pint containers. The original flavor is also sold in a 3.6-oz. single-serve size packaged with a spoon.
The first stores to carry the product range from Food Emporium and Gristede's in New York to Fresh Market, Price Chopper, Wegmans, Kroger and select Whole Foods stores nationwide. New locations will be announced on Lifeway's Facebook page and Twitter account as Lifeway Frozen Kefir reaches their doors.
About Lifeway Foods, Inc.
Lifeway Foods, Inc. (LWAY), recently named one of Fortune Small Business' Fastest Growing Companies for the fifth consecutive year, is America's leading supplier of the cultured dairy products known as kefir and organic kefir. Lifeway Kefir is a dairy beverage that contains ten exclusive live and active probiotic cultures plus ProBoost™. While most regular yogurt contains only two or three of these "friendly" cultures, Lifeway Kefir products offer greater nutritional benefits and support a healthier life. Lifeway produces various flavors of its drinkable Kefir and Organic Kefir beverage, and recently introduced a series of innovative new products such as a children's line of Organic Kefir called ProBugs™ with a no-spill pouch and kid-friendly flavors like Goo Berry Pie and Strawnana Split. In addition to its line of Kefir products, the company produces a variety of probiotic cheese products. Lifeway also sells frozen kefir, kefir smoothies and kefir parfaits through its Starfruit™ retail stores.
SS│PR – Erin O'Connor
SOURCE Lifeway Foods, Inc.