Los Angeles, CA — Millenium Products, Inc., parent company of GT’s Kombucha acquired Medina, MN-based Tula’s CocoKefir, a maker of vegan fermented coconut-based kefirs and yogurts. According to BevNet, the transaction occurred earlier this year and the products have been subsequently rebranded as GT’s products. Both companies’ shared passion and strong convictions about their products’ health benefits are sure to have been a factor in making the acquisition. For example, GT’s found GT Dave attributing his mother’s recovery from breast cancer to consuming kombucha and Tula’s CocoKefir, founded by Michael and Holly Larsen in 2009, was launched after witnessing the effect probiotic-rich food had on their autistic daughter Tula. Dave is quoted by BevNet as saying, “[Their] personal journey convinced me that we needed to work together.”
The rebranded products include CocoKefir and CocoYo. CocoKefir is made with the water of young coconuts, cracked at their Los Angeles production facility and fermented with vegan cultures containing 15-30 billion active probiotics per 4 oz. serving. After the rebrand, stevia was removed as an ingredient from the drink. The CocoYo, which is GT’s first food product, is made from organic coconuts from Thailand, whose meat and water is fermented with vegan cultures and flavored with a hint of vanilla and stevia. So far, only select retailers in California are selling the products, though there are certainly plans to distribute the product nationally.
The products have already become the subject of a lawsuit in September. Lifeway Foods, Inc., Morton Grove, IL, a leading maker of dairy-based kefir sued Millenium for the CocoKefir, arguing that using the term kefir is misleading consumers into thinking it is made from fermented milk. They also cite the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s definition of kefir as “cultured milk” as evidence of false advertising by Millenium. However, a judge dismissed the lawsuit on December 14.