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Coca-Cola bets protein drink will give it muscle

NEW YORK (AP) -- The Coca-Cola Co. is betting that a high-protein milkshake can give it some more muscle.

The world's biggest beverage maker said Tuesday it's buying a stake in the maker of Core Power, which is marketed as a post workout recovery drink. Cola-Cola did not disclose its stake in Fair Oaks Farms Brands LLC or other terms of the deal. Coca-Cola is teaming up with Select Milk Producers Inc., a dairy cooperative, to buy the stake.

Coca-Cola said the deal will help it drive the expansion of Core Power and build a portfolio of products that feature the "value-added nutrition of dairy." The companies said the investment reflects the potential in health and wellness beverages. Coca-Cola has been distributing Core Power for about two months; the drink is currently sold in more than 12 markets.

As consumption of sodas in the U.S. has declined in recent years, Coca-Cola has invested more heavily in expanding its portfolio of drinks, which include Powerade sports drinks, Minute Maid juice and Dasani bottled water.

In its latest quarter, the Atlanta-based company said its sales volume in North America rose 2 percent. But the bump was driven by non-carbonated drinks. Overall sales volume for its soft drinks, which include Sprite and Fanta, was flat from a year ago.

Shares of Coca-Cola were down 7 cents at $37.31 in afternoon trading.