The transaction builds on Lifeway's entry into the children's market with its ProBugs line of children's organic kefir, opening potential distribution channels for existing Lifeway products, and marking the first step in a strategic diversification into non-dairy-based health beverages.
First Juice offers four juice flavors that are made from organic produce and sold through more than 300 Babies R Us and Toys R Us stores as well as outlets including 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-oz. reusable and recyclable, spill-proof, BPA-free containers which feature a patented no-spill sippy-top for on-the-go use as well as in 32-oz. bottles for home use and refills.
First Juice recorded more than $1.7 million in sales in 2009 after two years in business, reflecting parents' rising interest in providing their children with natural foods.
"The market for healthy children's beverages and other foods that promote healthy children's eating habits is clearly growing. 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," said Julie Smolyansky, CEO of Lifeway Foods. "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, 2010. The purchase price for the assets of the company was $220,000. Julie Smolyansky had previously served as a board member of First Juice, Inc. since 2006.
The transaction is Lifeway's third acquisition in four years. The company purchased Helios Nutrition Limited in 2006 and Fresh Made Dairy in 2009, absorbing its top two competitors in the kefir market while also adding organic kefir to its product lineup.