Fairlife vs. Premier Protein: The Ultimate Comparison

Ladies and gentlemen, in this corner, we have Premier Protein, a shake that has stood the test of time in the ready-made protein shake world.

In the other corner, we have Fairlife Core Power shakes, arguably the most popular protein shakes in the game today.

Which will reign supreme in this protein-packed bout? Let’s find out.

Table of Contents

    Introduction & Background

    Premier Protein and Fairlife are two of the best protein shakes in the ready-to-drink protein shake space.

    Yes, there are many other players in the game, but it’s not a stretch to say that these are two of the most well-known brands out there.

    I’ve personally tried every single flavor that each brand offers, so I feel it’s my responsibility to compare these protein shakes to crown an ultimate winner.

    But I want to dive deeper than simply which protein shake tastes better because it goes much further than that.

    Core power vs core power elite

    Yes, taste is extremely important. If a protein shake tastes bad (I’m looking at you, Muscle Milk) then I don’t see any use in forcing yourself to drink it.

    Sure, if you have fitness goals surrounding building muscle mass, then getting enough protein is extremely important. Or if weight loss is your goal, you’ll want to make sure your protein intake is adequate enough to not only keep you full, but also help you hold onto muscle.

    In those cases, sometimes the high amount of protein takes precedence over flavor.

    But there are other factors at play as well: flavor options, overall protein content, consistency, micronutrients, etc.

    I’m going to break it all down for you right here so we can crown an ultimate champion.

    And I’ll preface this all by saying you don’t need protein shakes in your life, but they are a great way to get extra protein into your diet. Of course, getting protein from whole foods is always the recommendation, but I’m not going to argue with the convenience of a post-workout or meal replacement shake.

    Premier Protein vs Fairlife Comparison Table

    I’m going to break each category down to give more context, but here is an overview of how Premier Protein Shakes stack up against Fairlife Core Power Protein Shakes.

    Premier ProteinFairlife Core PowerFairlife Core Power Elite
    160 Calories170 Calories230 Calories
    3g Fat4.5g Fat3.5g Fat
    4g Carbs6g Carbs6g Carbs
    1g Fiber1g Fiber0g Fiber
    1g Sugar5g Sugar8g Sugar
    230mg Sodium260mg Sodium250mg Sodium
    30g Protein26g Protein42g Protein
    Naturally FlavoredNaturally FlavoredNaturally Flavored
    10+ Flavors3 Flavors3 Flavors
    25 Vitamins & Minerals4 Vitamins & Minerals5 Vitamins & Minerals

    Whether you care most about how many grams of protein are in your protein shake or how many flavor options there are, this table has everything you need.

    Now let’s dive a little deeper…

    Nutritional Comparison

    It’s important to note that Fairlife offers two different protein shakes: their regular line, and their Elite line. The Elite line boasts higher protein and slightly higher calories, but we’re going to include both options in this comparison.

    Nutritionally, here’s how the protein shakes stack up (note that the nutrition facts will vary slightly based on flavor, but they will all be very similar):

    Core Power Nutrition: 170 Calories, 4.5g Fat, 8g Carbs (2g Fiber, 7g Sugar), 26g Protein

    Core Power Elite Nutrition: 230 Calories, 4g Fat, 9g Carbs (2g Fiber, 7g Sugar), 42g Protein

    Premier Protein Nutrition: 160 Calories, 3g Fat, 4g Carbs (1g Fiber, 1g Sugar), 30g Protein

    Interestingly enough, Premier Protein falls right in between the two Fairlife protein shake options in terms of protein content.

    Any of these shakes is a good choice for your protein needs as they all have fairly significant amounts of protein. Whether it’s 26 grams or 42 grams, they all have plenty of protein.

    With lower fat, lower total carb count, and lower sugar, Premier Protein is the more impressive option across the board and a slightly better choice.

    While we can’t argue with the impressive nature of the Elite Fairlife shakes having 42 grams of protein, we’re looking at the nutrition facts overall, and Premier Protein gets the slight edge.

    Premier protein nutrition facts

    Winner: Premier Protein

    Ingredient Comparison

    Fairlife Core Power and Premier Protein are quite different in terms of their ingredients.

    Fairlife uses ultra-filtered milk as the first ingredient, which explains why their packaging calls these high-protein milk shakes and not simply protein shakes.

    Premier Protein, on the other hand, uses water & whey protein as their first two ingredients, very much making them protein shakes.

    Here’s the full ingredients list for each with any added vitamins & minerals removed (so we can touch on those in the next section).

    Vanilla Fairlife Core Power: Filtered Lowfat Grade A Milk, Contains Less Than 1% of: Natural Flavors, Monk Fruit Juice Concentrate, Stevia Leaf Extract, Carrageenan, Cellulose Gel, Cellulose Gum, Acesulfame Potassium, Sucralose, Lactase Enzyme.

    Vanilla Premier Protein: Water, Milk Protein Concentrate, Calcium Caseinate, Contains less than 1% of High Oleic Sunflower Oil or Soybean Oil, Natural and Artificial flavors, Inulin, Cellulose Gel and Cellulose Gum, Salt, Sucralose, Acesulfame Potassium, Carrageenan, Tripotassium Phosphate, Dipotassium Phosphate, Sodium Hexametaphosphate, Magnesium Phosphate, Sodium Ascorbate.

    Who wins this ingredient battle?

    Both contain rather similar ingredients, but Fairlife contains a few standout ingredients. Not only does Fairlife contains no artificial sweeteners or flavors, but it also contains a lactase enzyme, making the shakes a good option for those with lactose intolerance.

    Core power nutrition

    It’s worth noting that since both protein shakes are dairy-based, they contain all of the essential amino acids as well.

    Winner: Fairlife Core Power

    Micronutrient Comparison

    While macros are important, especially in a high-protein snack, we can’t completely disregard micronutrients.

    If you’re drinking a protein shake as a meal replacement, you likely want to make sure you’re getting in some vitamins & minerals.

    But not all protein shakes are created equally…

    Fairlife Core Power Vitamins & Minerals: Vitamin D, Calcium, Potassium, Vitamin A

    Premier Protein Vitamins and Minerals: Vitamin D, Calcium, Potassium, Vitamin A, Iron, Vitamin E, Thiamin, Niacin, Folate, Biotin, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Selenium, Manganese, Molybdenum, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, Pantothenic Acid, Iodine, Zinc, Copper, Chromium

    There’s no contest here.

    Premier Protein nutrition

    Winner: Premier Protein

    Overall Taste & Texture

    Flavor-wise, both shakes deliver. In fact, these are my two favorite ready-to-drink protein shakes out there.

    But they are two vastly different shakes, so it depends on your preferences.

    Premier Protein is very much a protein shake. It has a smooth, creamy texture and has great flavor (mostly, but it depends on the exact flavor you choose), but you can tell you are drinking a protein shake.

    It’s better than other protein shakes I’ve tried, like Alani Nu or Ghost, but it is still very much a protein shake.

    On the other hand, Fairlife Core Power is basically like drinking flavored milk. If you try the vanilla Core Power shake, it is quite milk-forward and it tastes like drinking vanilla-flavored milk.

    Fairlife is incredibly smooth, drinkable, and refreshing, but you have to enjoy milk. If you hate milk for any reason, you may be put off by Fairlife.

    It’s not quite apples to oranges, it’s more like Fuji apples to Granny Smith apples. They’re similar, and you can compare them, but it will ultimately depend on your preferences.

    Here are my reviews for each shake.

    Core Power Shakes
    If you want a protein shake that drinks like milk, Fairlife will not disappoint. Each flavor is as smooth and drinkable as chocolate milk, making it a very refreshing choice. It's also the perfect way to turn your cereal into a high-protein treat that doesn't taste like protein at all.
    The Good
    Very smooth and drinkable
    Core Power Elite shakes have very impressive nutrition
    The Bad
    Strawberry banana flavor is a disappointment
    Would like more flavor variety
    More expensive than other RTD shakes
    Give 'Em A Try
    Premier Protein Bottle
    Premier Protein makes some of the best ready-to-drink protein shakes out there. They may not all blow you away, but as a whole, they are delicious and have higher protein than many other options.
    The Good
    Excellent macros
    No artificial aftertaste
    Great consistency
    The Bad
    Not all flavors live up to the hype
    Can taste the protein a little more than I'd hope for
    Give 'Em A Try

    Winner: Fairlife Core Power

    Flavor Options

    I’m a simple man: give me vanilla or chocolate shakes and I’ll be perfectly happy.

    Sure, protein shake flavors like Chips Ahoy are fun and all, but I’ll take a basic flavor over a fancy flavor any day.

    That being said, it’s nice to have options, and I know that the majority of people out there would prefer their protein shakes to have options.

    Fairlife Core Power Flavors: Vanilla, Chocolate, Strawberry

    Premier Protein Flavors: Vanilla, Chocolate, Strawberries and Cream, Caffe Latte, Caramel, Cookies & Cream, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Cake Batter, Bananas & Cream, Peaches & Cream, Winter Mint, Root Beer Float, Cinnamon Roll

    Fairlife offers a small handful of different flavors of their regular and Elite shakes, and they stick with the three flavors you would expect to find in milk.

    Core Power Shakes

    Since their shakes are milk-based, they opt to stick with vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry, which are classic milk flavors.

    Premier Protein makes a ton of different flavor options, and they often introduce new seasonal flavors as well.

    I typically stick with the classic flavors, but I do absolutely love the Caffe Latte Premier Protein shake. It’s a caffeinated protein shake that actually tastes like coffee, and it’s one of my favorite protein coffee options out there.

    Winner: Premier Protein

    Uses & Versatility

    When it comes to protein shakes, more often than not, you’re going to be drinking them.

    But sometimes you get tired of chugging down a thick protein shake in the middle of the day and you want to find some different, creative uses for your protein shake.

    Generally speaking, if you can do something different with one protein shake, you can do it with another one.

    For example, you can toss either a Premier Protein shake or Core Power shake into the Ninja Creami and transform it into ice cream.

    The ice cream will only taste as good as the protein shake, so it’s subject to your preferences. Nonetheless, either option works.

    For me, the ultimate use for a protein shake is using it in a bowl of cereal. One of my favorite protein “hacks” is to take a regular cereal, but instead of using milk, use a protein shake to transform it into a high-protein meal.

    Much like ice cream, you can technically use any protein shake for this purpose, but some clearly work better than others. I’ve tried this with a Premier Protein vanilla shake, and while it technically worked, it just tasted like cereal mixed with protein.

    Fairlife core power cereal

    Then I tried a bowl of cereal using Fairlife’s chocolate protein shake as my milk, and it was unbelievable.

    Since Core Power has the consistency of milk, it doesn’t taste like you’re ruining cereal with a protein shake.

    In fact, pairing the chocolate shake with chocolate cereal just made it taste like there was a whole bunch of leftover chocolate milk at the bottom of my bowl. I truly would never be able to tell there was protein in it.

    Considering Core Power is so similar to milk in both consistency and flavor, it opens up a world of possibilities outside of a simple protein drink.

    Winner: Fairlife Core Power

    Price & Availability

    Depending on where you live, you’ll find these protein shakes in a variety of stores. The great thing about these two shakes in particular is that you don’t need to go to a supplement store to find them- they’re available in most major grocery store chains.

    For pricing purposes, I’m using what is currently available through Target, Walmart, and Sam’s Club.

    Premier Protein

    12-Pack: $29.99 ($2.50 per shake)

    4-Pack: $8.99 ($2.25 per shake)

    Single: $2.99

    Fairlife Core Power

    12-Pack: $29.99 ($2.50 per shake)

    Single: $3.29

    Fairlife Core Power Elite

    12-Pack: $49.99 ($4.17 per shake)

    Single: $4.29

    Fairlife protein shakes are most commonly found at stores as single protein shakes, but you can find larger packs when ordering online or through a wholesale club like Sam’s Club.

    Because the shakes are mostly sold as singles, the prices reflect that.

    Premier Protein, on the other hand, is most commonly found in packs of either 4 or 12. While you can certainly find single ready-made Premier Protein shakes, mostly notably at pharmacies like CVS, you’ll commonly find them packaged together.

    Since the prices are slightly lower than Core Power, along with the option to buy a 4-pack rather than commit to a full 12-pack, Premier Protein looks like they have the edge.

    Holding premier protein shake

    Winner: Premier Protein

    And The Winner Is…

    In our head-to-head battle, here’s a summary of how each category shook out.

    Nutrition/Macros: Premier Protein

    Micronutrients: Premier Protein

    Ingredients: Fairlife

    Taste: Fairlife

    Uses & Versatility: Fairlife

    Flavor Options: Premier Protein

    Price & Availability: Premier Protein

    It was a very close battle (4-3, to be exact), but Premier Protein is our winner!

    Final Thoughts

    Ultimately, the winner of this protein shake showdown depends on your personal preference and nutritional needs.

    In a head-to-head battle, I give the slight edge to Premier Protein, but it’s very clear why these are both two of the most popular protein shakes in the game today.

    Remember, the best protein shake is the one that you enjoy and suits your lifestyle. Personally, I prefer the taste of Fairlife to Premier Protein, but you may feel differently.

    With high-quality protein and delicious flavor, either protein shake is a convenient way (and easy way) to hit your protein goals.

    So, go ahead, taste-test, and find your own protein shake champion! Feel free to share your experiences in the comments below, and if there’s a protein shake out there that you prefer to these two options, let me hear it.

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