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SOY MILK WARS: Chapter 1: Coca Cola versus Dean Foods

Things are heating up in an unlikely battle between the world’s largest soft drink maker and the world’s number two dairy. The emerging rumble in the dairy case will pit Coca-Cola re-launched Odwalla’s soymilk head to head in the dairy case with Dean Foods’ Silk.

Odwalla’s first attempt at soy was about as wrong as you can get. The packaging —plastic, like its juice bottles—was wrong. The merchandising –in Odwalla juice refrigerators—was wrong too. The product tasted great but sank, shall we say, just a bit slower than the Titanic.

This time they got it all right. Gable-topped cartons merchandised in the dairy case, topped off with the addition of DHA, an essential fatty acid for brain nutrition (and a leading nutrient in the nutritional treatment of Attention Deficit Disorder) and the addition of inulin, a soluble prebiotic fiber which promotes healthy intestinal flora, as well as adding a subtle sweetness to products. And of course the terrific Odwalla packaging stands making Silk seem stodgy in comparison.

We’ve asked both to companies for interviews, so stay tuned for Part 2 of the Soy Milk Wars. And in case you’re wondering, we’ll be talking to Organic Valley, too, though we fear that this powerhouse cooperative doesn’t a chance in the battle for the dairy case in mainstream markets.

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