Dairy-based sports drink launched with industry support

By Jim Cornall

- Last updated on GMT

The new product was created with support from the dairy checkoff and other industry groups.  Pic: GoodSport
The new product was created with support from the dairy checkoff and other industry groups. Pic: GoodSport

Related tags Dairy Sports drink Sports drinks

A Chicago-based start-up has launched GoodSport, a sports drink that is 97% dairy.

The product launched with support from the dairy checkoff and other industry groups.

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.

“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’s consistency and protein content, which digests slowly, have been barriers for athletes before and during exercise. GoodSport’s patent-pending formula and process provide hydration in a clear beverage. McBride said it delivers three times the electrolytes and 33% less sugar than traditional sports drinks. The beverage is a source of calcium and B vitamins. It is lactose free and shelf stable.

To bring her idea to life, McBride engaged sports nutritionists and 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 the 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.

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.

McBride had hydration testing conducted at Penn State University. The findings, published in the journal Nutrients​, show 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.

GoodSport comes in four flavors in 16.9-ounce bottles: lemon lime, fruit punch, wild berry and citrus.

The sports drink will be available this month online, with broader retail distribution planned for later this year.

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