One man on a mission to put the magic back into the white stuff - without piling on the sugar - is David Folster, president of Moo Mixers Syrups Inc, which is developing all-natural low-sugar syrups that kids can add to milk to make it look and taste great, without the calories, artificial colors or flavors of ready-to-drink milkshakes or rival flavoring syrups.
The Moo Mixer syrups - which contain stevia extract, sugar and cultured dextrose - have 60% less sugar than regular milk flavoring syrups, and only natural colors and flavors, says Folster, who aims to present his products to retailers early next year.
Fronted by dancing cows (with shades), Moo Mixers come in seven flavors: Crazilla (orange -vanilla), to Screamin' Yella (banana), Chug-a-Moo (chocolate), Inky Pinky (birthday cake), Moolectric Blue (raspberry), Xtreme Green (cookies & cream), and Twerple Purple (vanilla cream).
It’s a great way to get kids to drink more milk instead of soda and juice that their parents call also feel good about
Folster - who knows a thing or two about how the food industry operates having set up a business called Litestyle Foods a decade ago developing low calorie private label products - also has three kids who like chocolate milk.
“My kids like flavored milk, but most of the products on the market are pretty sugary and expensive, and full of artificial ingredients, especially the single serve packs - and you only tend to get two or three flavors [strawberry, banana, chocolate] . But the alternative is sugary sodas and juices.
“And if you look at what else is out there in terms of flavored milk syrups, it’s mainly just chocolate and strawberry, and I thought there was a big gap in the market.
“My kids and their friends are crazy about the products; it’s a great way to get kids to drink more milk instead of soda and juice that parents call also feel good about.
“We’re preparing to present the products to the market probably early next year but the ideal place to stock them I think would be to get them in free-standing displays by the white milk section.”
Natural colors and flavors
The biggest challenge formulation-wise, has been using natural colors, he says.
“Getting the sweetness right was actually the easy part. The most challenging part was working with natural flavors and colors because of the stability issues and the expense.
“Our products are very concentrated, so you need to use much color than you would use in a ready-to-drink milkshake, for example. Meanwhile, getting a natural blue and green has also been very challenging.
“I’m working with a natural blue for the green syrup, but blue is on the back burner for now. The initial launch will probably be with four flavors."
Click here to find out more about Moo Mixers.
Click here to find out more about the steady decline in milk consumption in the US (the chart below is based on National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) data).