Lifeway Foods, Inc. announced that Protein Kefir, the company's latest kefir innovation, has expanded distribution to Harris Teeter. More retailers will be carrying the product within the coming months.

Protein: the Perfect Pick-me-up

In addition to the 12 live and active kefir cultures and tart and tangy taste consumers love and expect from the cultured milk smoothie, each serving of Protein Kefir packs 20 grams of protein, which is considered the optimal amount by sports nutritionists to aid muscle repair. It's a creamy and refreshing way to recover after a tough sweat session at the gym, or as an anytime drink that tastes great and helps curb unhealthy snacking.

"Protein and probiotics are two of the hottest food trends right now, and our Protein Kefir is a powerful combination of those two features," said Lifeway President and CEO Julie Smolyansky. "We've developed the ultimate functional beverage that appeals to a wide array of different consumers. Our Protein Kefir supports the activities of serious athletes whether you're a SoulCycle enthusiast, CrossFit fanatic, or simply an everyday consumer looking for better food choices."

The growing market demand for convenient protein food products drove Lifeway's decision to develop Protein Kefir. According to a recent IFIC's Food & Health Survey report, 58 percent of consumers considered whether packaged food and beverage products contained protein when making purchasing decisions. Further, the Wall Street Journal reported that U.S. sales of packaged foods with protein-related claims on their labels rose to $7.5 billion in the year ended February 15, 2014. That is a gain of more than 50 percent from the like period four years ago, according to research firm Nielsen, and demonstrates a rapidly growing market demand for accessible, high-quality protein food options.

Lifeway Protein Kefir is available in four flavors – mixed berry, vanilla, banana and salted caramel. Each 16-ounce bottle contains two servings and is free from artificial flavors and ingredients. It's a protein-plus-probiotic powerhouse that utilizes the carbohydrates in the kefir to boost protein absorption, while continuing to provide the immunity-enhancing benefits of probiotics. It's a naturally delicious way to support your body and your belly.

Lifeway Protein Kefir can now be found at Harris Teeter stores throughout the South Atlantic. Lifeway is also serving Protein Kefir at New York City's Taste of Tennis food and tennis event, where local chefs and professional tennis player come together to celebrate food and sport.