Bravo!, which has a 10-year distribution deal with Coke bottler, Coca-Cola Enterprises, has announced it will expand its Slammers range to include milk-based sports and energy drinks. The move is an example of how dairy firms around the world may trade on their natural, healthy image to compete more seriously with traditional soft drinks makers. Slammers Sport Milk is set for launch in the US this summer. It claims to be based on "a growing body of scientific and empirical evidence that suggests milk can play an important role in post-exercise recovery and rehydration". Bravo! said Sport Milk would go further than existing sports drinks because its natural protein content will allow cells in the body to rebuild themselves. It also contains coQ-10 and vitamin B to provide quick and long-lasting energy. "We're leveraging the great restorative nutrition of Mother Nature's perfect beverage, milk, and marrying it with science," said Roy Warren, chief executive of Bravo!, which has already forged a strong reputation in the market with its vitamin-enriched milk drinks. Work on Sport Milk began after the group learned of a study claiming chocolate milk's protein content was well-suited to help muscles recover after exercise. The study was published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism in February 2006. Now, Bravo! said it planned to expand its focus on the sports and energy sector. It has spent recent weeks trialling another new product, Slammers Energy Milk, which claims to provide twice the energy of the market's leading energy drink. Both sports and energy drinks sectors have shown rapid growth across Europe and the US in recent years, as consumers look for that extra kick and increasingly move away from traditional carbonated beverages. This trend has seen PepsiCo' Gatorade and Coca-Cola's Powerade products leap to the forefront of the two companies' portfolios. Energy drink sales rocketed by 50 per cent in the US last year, eclipsing growth in other soft drinks categories, according to a report by Beverage Marketing Coporation. In Western Europe, energy drink volume sales were expected to be up 12 per cent for 2006 to 428m litres, according to Zenith International.