A Chicago-based start-up has launched GoodSport, a sports drink that is 97% dairy.
GoodSport Nutrition Founder and CEO Michelle McBride conceived the concept after being frustrated with the sports drink category options.
“I didn’t want my son drinking sports drinks filled with artificial ingredients that were being offered to him at his baseball games,” she said in a news release. “I gave him chocolate milk as a healthier alternative after his workouts and it provided the inspiration to look at milk as a source of hydration during physical activity.”
Milk is a natural source of the essential electrolytes and carbohydrates needed to provide effective hydration. In fact, scientific studies have shown milk hydrates better than traditional sports drinks and water. However, milk’s consistency and protein content, which slowly digests, were barriers for athletes before and during exercise.
GoodSport’s patent-pending formula and process cracked the code to provide hydration in a clear and thirst-quenching beverage. It delivers three times the electrolytes and 33% less sugar than traditional sports drinks, McBride said. All ingredients are from natural sources and the beverage provides a good source of calcium and an excellent source of B vitamins. It is lactose free and shelf stable.
To bring her idea to life, McBride engaged recognized experts in sports nutrition and from across the dairy industry. Dairy Management Inc. (DMI), which manages the national dairy checkoff, assisted McBride with category insights and provided contacts to accelerate speed to market.
State and regional checkoff teams also offered support. Dr. Greg Miller of National Dairy Council serves on the company’s scientific advisory council and McBride also participated in the Dairy Farmers of America Co-Lab Accelerator for startups. The 90-day program offers training, growth opportunities and mentorship.
Additionally, McBride worked with the checkoff-funded Center for Dairy Research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. There, Kimberlee (K.J.) Burrington – dairy ingredient, cultured products and beverages coordinator – showed the GoodSport Nutrition team how ultrafiltration could harness milk’s electrolytes, vitamins and carbohydrates and remove its protein to create a clear, light beverage with a mouthfeel that consumers expect from a sports drink.
GoodSport comes in four flavors in 16.9-ounce bottles: lemon lime, fruit punch, wild berry and citrus.
Burrington also helped the team source its main ingredient sustainably. Dairy companies often ultrafilter milk and use its protein to make products such as cheese and are unable to use the nutrient-rich part of the milk – permeate. GoodSport rescues this byproduct from dairy companies to produce its beverage.
“GoodSport carries dairy’s healthy halo,” said Pennsylvania dairy farmer Marilyn Hershey, who serves as chairwoman of DMI. “It not only offers delicious refreshment and nutrition from dairy, but it supports our industry’s sustainability mission. This is giving people a new way to talk about milk and that’s exciting for dairy farmers.”
McBride had hydration testing conducted at Penn State University. The findings, published in the Journal Nutrients, shows GoodSport provides hydration two hours after it is consumed.
Dr. Bob Murray, co-founder and former Director of the Gatorade Sports Science Institute, helped oversee GoodSport’s formulation.
“Having spent my career in hydration and exercise performance research, I’ve known milk has the ingredients to provide superior hydration, but never before has anyone found a way to transform milk into an extremely effective and refreshing sports drink,” Murray said. “It’s exciting to be part of the team that’s bringing something entirely new with superior hydration to the sports drink category.”