The Lifeway story begins in 1986, when Russian immigrants Michael and Ludmila Smolyansky began making Kefir in the basement of their Skokie, IL home. The cultured dairy drink had been popular in Eastern Europe for centuries, but the Smolyansky family was determined to share their delicious health secret with their newfound home. Two years later, they took the company public and it debuted on the NASDAQ exchange under the ticker symbol LWAY.
And there’s a new generation running the company too. In 2002, Michael Smolyansky’s children took the helm of Lifeway Foods, with daughter Julie assuming the roles of President and CEO and son Edward becoming Chief Operating Officer.
In 2011, Julie and Ed commemorated Lifeway’s 25th Anniversary by ringing the NASDAQ bell. A lot has changed since 1986. Lifeway has acquired top competitors Helios Nutrition (in 2006) and Fresh Made Dairy (in 2009), giving them the #1 market share in probiotic dairy products.
Lifeway has also innovated several new ideas in the dairy industry by introducing breakthrough products such as ProBugs kefir for kids, BioKefir™, and Frozen Kefir. Lifeway has even gone as far as founding The Lifeway Kefir Shop, a delicious chain of frozen kefir cafés in the Chicago area.
Though many things have changed since 1986, our commitment to producing the highest quality cultured foods remains the same. After more than a quarter-century of dedication and innovation, the Lifeway family looks forward to building on our tradition of healthy and delicious living for many years to come.
At Lifeway, we are committed to four ideals:
All natural hormone and GMO-free ingredients, philanthropy, environmental responsibility, and local farming sustainability.
Learn how we use these pillars to create a meaningful impact in this beautiful world that we live in.