Lifeway Foods: Kefir Producer
Lifeway Foods Inc. began in 1986, when Michael Smolyansky, a Russian immigrant began making Kefir in the basement of his home in Skokie, Illinois. For centuries the cultured dairy drink had been popular in Eastern Europe and Michael decided that he wanted to share this drink to the American public.
He made the right decision as two years later Michael took the company public making its debut under the ticker symbol LWAY in the NASDAQ. As stated by Lifeway it has grown to become the largest manufacturer of Kefir in the United States and has brought the delicious taste and probiotic health benefits of Kefir to a whole new generation.
Michael has successfully passed on management of the business to the next generation in the family. In 2002, daughter Julie took on the roles of President and CEO and son Edward became Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer.
Julie and Ed commemorated the 25th Anniversary of Lifeway Foods by ringing the NASDAQ bell in 2011. Over that period the company acquired top competitors Helios Nutrition (in 2006) and Fresh Made Dairy (in 2009), in the process transforming Lifeway into the market leader in probiotic dairy products.
Lifeway Foods, together with its subsidiaries, manufactures and sells probiotic, cultured, and functional dairy and non-dairy health food products in the United States. Its primary products include kefir, a drinkable dairy beverage in various flavors under the Lifeway Kefir and Helios Nutrition Organic Kefir brands. There is also a line of yogurts under the Lassi brand. There is also BasicsPlus, a dairy based immune-supporting dietary supplement beverage.
The company also offers Lifeway Farmer Cheese, a line of various farmer cheeses; a line of gourmet cream cheeses; and Sweet Kiss, a fruit sugar-flavored spreadable cheese. Aside from this Lifeway also manufactures and markets a vegetable-based seasoning under the Golden Zesta brand. The company sells its products to various retail establishments, such as supermarkets, grocery stores, delicatessens, and convenience stores. Lifeway is headquartered in Morton Grove, Illinois.