Fairlife milk: I’m disappointed.

Fairlife milk label

I headed to Meijer today to pick up the free Fairlife milk that’s on their Mperks ecoupons today — two free bottles, one white, one chocolate. A great deal, I thought.

I just saw Fairlife milk featured on one of the national morning shows earlier this week, and the spokesperson was touting its benefits as a premium milk — higher protein and lower sugar level. I was in and out of the store quickly, and I didn’t really look at the label until I was putting the milk in my fridge at home.

That’s when I noticed the ingredients. Fairlife chocolate milk is touting itself as a healthier milk, but it contains both Acesulfame K and Sucralose. I should have known better — I blogged about milk being sweetened with artificial sweeteners back in 2013 when this was first being proposed.

I cannot for the life of me figure out why a brand would believe “full of chemicals” equals “healthier.” This milk, while not organic, also touts the fact that it is BGH-free. Doesn’t it stand to reason that consumers seeking milk free from artificial growth hormones would also seek milk without artificial sweeteners? This milk also sells for a higher price than a comparable carton of organic milk.

I noticed that the back of the bottle invites consumers to call with a “Let’s Chat!” invite. I just called, and when I explained my disappointment, the Fairlife rep said that the product was developed based on what “most consumers” want, which is a lower-calorie sweetened milk.

I told her that as a parent, I’m far more concerned with keeping my kids away from artificial sweeteners than I am from sugar. If I’m buying chocolate milk, honestly, I couldn’t care less about the calories. It’s a treat, it’s something special, and we’ll enjoy it as such.

As I wrote back in my don’t-tamper-with-milk post back in 2013, “I am much more of a “leave foods alone” person. Give me organic, full-fat, hormone-free milk. Give me 100% juice with no HFCS or Splenda additives. Give me full-fat butter instead of margarine any day. (And give me sugar” — real sugar — in pop and milk.

I’m not sure what do do with this now (do you return something you got free with an ecoupon? The store can’t restock it anyway.) I can’t drink it either — as I’ve blogged about before, I’m a “supertaster,” and I know from experience that both of these artificial sweeteners taste horrible to me, so I’m not even willing to try. I won’t let my children drink it, so I’m probably going to take it to our local food pantry.



  1. says

    Note from Jill: I’m carrying over the comments posted under this article when we were still on the old site today (4/18/15.) They’re below.

    You can now be disappointed 2x!
    Submitted by SSMark1 on Mon, 04/13/2015 – 5:42pm.
    Mperks was reset for most accounts. As did the Ibotta rebate off!

    At least the Ibotta offer turned this into a moneymaker last week and again this week.


    not real milk
    Submitted by Ruby Red on Fri, 04/10/2015 – 7:59pm.
    After I read this blog yesterday, from someone who posted on mashupmom, I decided to take a pass on the milk as well. ICK. Sticking with organic. What’s so interesting is how the rep told you that it’s “what most consumers want.” Really? I could’ve sworn the trend was getting away from fake sugar. Didn’t Diet Coke sales totally drop out of the number 2 spot recently? That should’ve been a clue.


    I agree
    Submitted by Coupon Maven on Fri, 04/10/2015 – 8:57pm.
    That’s a great point – I blogged about the drop in Diet Coke sales the other day too. I also agree that the trend is moving away from fake sugars.

    When I heard that question from the rep, I wondered HOW they surveyed consumers when creating this new product. Did they say something like “Would you prefer a milk with less sugar in it for your kids?” I would guess they didn’t say “Would you prefer a milk with all of its natural sugars stripped out and replaced with two different artificial sweeteners?”

    The link you posted is a very interesting read too. It notes that Fairlife’s website used to say (bold emphasis is mine) “Our milk flows through soft filters so that we can concentrate the good stuff – like protein and calcium – and filter out the fat and sugars. That allows us to bottle only delicious, nutrient-rich milk – with no added protein powders or synthetic junk.”

    Now, on the current site, it reads “That allows us to bottle only delicious, nutrient-rich ultra-filtered milk – no protein powders necessary.”

    Because sadly… this does have “synthetic junk.”

    I noticed the Sucralose as soon as looked at the front, I…
    Submitted by SSMark1 on Fri, 04/10/2015 – 4:27pm.
    I noticed the Sucralose as soon as I saw the front and the less sugar on the packaging when I got my milks on Wednesday night. I was wondering what’s in this milk if it’s less sugar. Sure enough, I saw what I call “the radioactive waste garbage” in it. YUCK! My brother’s kids consume chemicals, so they are getting chocolate milk. I always feel like I’m poisoned when I taste the fake sugar. I really have not been able to get used to the taste of non-plant based sweeteners. I prefer sugar or “natural corn sugar”, and small amounts of stevia. HFCS don’t bother me, so I have no issue with that since I limit my intake, but I see why highly processed corn into high fructose corn syrup can fry your insides and can accelerate you into becoming a diabetic.

    I could do without the added SALT as well in this chocolate milk as I’m trying to cut down.
    It really doesn’t make that much of a taste difference to me if there is no salt in my chocolate milk, so why do they add it? Do we really need more salt in our foods???


    Brings out the chocolate
    Submitted by Coupon Maven on Fri, 04/10/2015 – 4:34pm.
    The salt-in-chocolate-milk trick is an easy way to pump up the chocolate flavor. (Try a little pinch of it in regular chocolate milk or hot cocoa, and you’ll see what I mean.)

    That said, yes, it should be a choice to drop the salt in if you want to.

    Fairlife IS lactose-free, so that is certainly a segment they can market to, as a lot of people are lactose-intolerant. This just seems like it’s becoming more of a robo-food product. (And it’s distributed by Coca-Cola, who I love… but I don’t love this.)

    I was just reading this Washington Post article on Fairlife: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2015/02/04/why-coca-cola

    One of the comments under that article resonated with me: “”The problem is we are not eating food anymore, we are eating food-like products.”

  2. Bargain Babe says

    For what it’s worth, I found both the chocolate and 2% bottles of this at Meijer today on clearance for $0.99. I think the expiration date was a few days off, hence the markdown (the whole milk was still at full price.)

    I thought there was -something- about this milk, but couldn’t remember what exactly and didn’t have the cell phone battery power to do an in-depth search about it. I did spot the vulgar “sucralose” on the chocolate bottle and quickly returned that to the case, but waffled about buying the 2%. I’m an organics and real ingredients kind of gal, so didn’t like the idea of Frankenmilk, but didn’t see anything that -didn’t- belong in the white variety.

    We’ll be giving it a try this time around, but only because of the price point and the insanely high amount of milk consumed around here. The chocolate variety will never have a place in our home while it contains artificial sweeteners, but if you’re okay with it check out Meijer to see if it’s marked down by you. I’d imagine stores would have similar expiration dates since this brand rolled out just a few months ago.

    Honestly – am I the only one who takes 30 minutes to “run in and out” of a store to grab some milk because I find I have to read labels and conduct research before buying? It shouldn’t be so hard.

  3. Medical support team says

    Then just dont buy it if you have a problem with its sweetners, it is better and tastes better than most other milks I would pay $5.00 per half gallon just for the taste alone. Hands down this is one of the best milks on the market today.

  4. stephanie says

    I agree with medical support team, don’t buy it, don’t get it for free, don’t drink it. I’m an adult, so I only drink white milk and because of this milk being so good, I drink more milk now and my husband can drink it as he is lactose intolerant.

  5. Cynthia says

    I love the 2% Fairlife milk. I looked at the ingredients and nothing bothers about the ingredients. I read through some of the comments, basically if you don’t agree with their ingredients in regards to the chocolate milk then don’t buy it. I understand that they tout they are hormone free, remove sugars ect but sometimes you just have to look elsewhere. I personally don’t buy chocolate milk for kids. I have them drink white milk but if I do purchase chocolate milk once in a blue moon Horizon is very good and organic. Just because one of their products is not of your liking try the others, the 2 % milk in my opinion is very yummy and smooth and creamy. I instantly taste a difference.

  6. Melissa says

    While I can understand Jills point as a parent, and she has done her homework in looking into product details, I would like her to take into account other people than a healthy adult and children. Many of us have health issues like diabetes, or dietary restrictions. As a diabetic this milk is a God send. If you are lactose intolerant you can drink this milk. Chemicals to sweeten vs a life of only water or nerve damage from high blood sugar…. I will happily take Fairlife. I recently learned that humans (all mammals) aren’t designed to drink milk past the first 2 yrs of life anyway. Fairlife milk helps me maintain my diabetes. It counts toward total protein for the day, can be used to take metformin to reduce upset stomach, and doesn’t increase my blood sugar. That’s better than other diabetic drink options, enhanced water, crystal light, diet pop, etc….all chemicals. I don’t have many options so again, fairlife rises above all!

  7. Melissa says

    You show only chocolate milk, which we all know has more sugar and is a treat. 2% fairlife label is reduced fat ultra filtered milk, lactase enzyme, vitamin A palmitate, vitamin D. What complaint do you have with that???

  8. Carl Urban says

    I think the original article is misleading because she only complains about the chocolate milk but doesn’t mention the white milk. Like Melissa says, the white milk is nothing to be worried about and if you don’t like sucralose then don’t buy the chocolate. some people cant have a lot of sugar, including myself and I don’t freak out over some sucralose. I have only bought 1 bottle of chocolate and its ok, but the 2% is excellent and all I want to buy now.

    I think some people go way too far about natural, not everything natural is good and I am sure that some artificial stuff isn’t necessarily bad.

  9. Arben says

    Artificial sweeteners are perfectly safe—complain about the taste all you want, but your criticisms of the quality or safety are utterly valueless. Moreover, “chemical free”? Space is chemical free. Other than that, literally everything you’re breathing is chemicals. Air is made of nitrogen, oxygen, carbon dioxide, argon, et c.; water is dihydrogen monoxide, vinegar has ethanoic acid, apples have formaldehyde. Stop being chemophobic.

  10. Rosie says

    I am also always looking for more healthier alternatives, also find they are being merchandised as healthy, but are always containing artificial sweetener. Thanks for the article! I’ll stick with cashew milk.

  11. Jani says

    Um, I’m sorry you never tried it. You missed out on the best tasting chocolate milk ever made. I don’t like the taste of artificial sweeteners either but there is definitely nothing artificial tasting about this milk. It’s the best I’ve ever had, and I’ve tried lots!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *