The key to success has been its all-natural credentials; the science behind its hydration claims; and simply great taste, according to the brand.
Milk: natural hydration
GoodSport was founded by Michelle McBride who took inspiration from athlete’s use of chocolate milk for recovery after sports: which sparked the idea of looking to milk as a natural source of hydration.
The Chicago-based start-up launched the 97% dairy drink as a challenger in the sports drink category in summer last year. The ‘first of its kind’ sports drink is designed to be a natural alternative to drinks with artificial ingredients, instead using milk as a natural source of essential electrolytes and carbohydrates for effective hydration.
In fact, the brand points to studies that show milk hydrates better than traditional sports drinks and water: but previously milk’s consistency and protein content, which is slow to digest, were barriers for using dairy before and during exercise.
The brand’s formula and process, however, cracked this code: with protein and fat removed via ultra-filtration leaving a clear sugary fluid loaded with electrolytes and vitamins. The result is a drink with more electrolytes and less sugar than traditional sports drinks (1,680mg electrolytes coming from milk permeate, which contains sodium, potassium, calcium, chloride, magnesium and phosphorus – more than most sports beverages which just had sodium and potassium).
Hydration testing at Penn State University and published in Journal Nutrients shows GoodSport provides hydration two hours after it is consumed.
The drink is sweetened with monk fruit extract and erythritol: both natural zero-calorie sweeteners. It contains 90 calories per 16.9oz bottle and is gluten-free.
But how have consumers actually responded to the idea of a dairy sports drink?
“GoodSport's sell through rate has exceeded expectations in our first year which has generated opportunities for new retail partnerships and expansion," Michelle McBride told us.
"We have also seen high demand from professional and collegiate teams as well as fitness enthusiasts and influencers.
“Consumers are looking for natural functional beverages so have responded enthusiastically to the concept of an all-natural sports drink that’s backed by science to hydrate better. They are drawn in by GoodSport's great taste and trust dairy to naturally deliver high levels of electrolytes with the right balance of carbohydrates to provide proven hydration.”
'We expect to be available wherever sports drinks are'
The drink launched in Chicago-land last summer, having participated in the Dairy Farmers of America 2020 CoLAB accelerator.
Now, on the back of a successful first year, it’s in the process of expanding its footprint into other Midwest markets with leading retailers.
“We are seeing demand from athletes all over the country so expect to eventually be available wherever sports drinks are purchased,” said McBride.