Giving chocolate milk a clean - and sportified - slate

The past five years have seen an increased focus on the potential benefits of chocolate milk for sports recovery, much thanks to its carbohydrates-to-protein ratio. Although only 12 human studies have been published on the subject in the past 10 years, consumer awareness of chocolate milk as a recovery drink is growing – fuelled by a 2019 systematic review that attracted the media's attention.

The review, published in European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, included 12 studies of which 11 were of “high” or “fair” quality. It found that chocolate milk may have some positive effects on athletes’ TTE (time to exhaustion) and the amount of lactic acid in the blood. However, it is not necessarily better for this than other types of recovery drinks included in the trials, causing the authors to conclude that “Chocolate milk provides either similar or superior results when compared to placebo or other recovery drinks.”. It was also noted that “overall, the evidence is limited and high-quality clinical trials with more well-controlled methodology and larger sample sizes are warranted.”

The analysis attracted attention from a range of publications, including National Geographic, and many threads about the topic can be found on major global discussion forum Reddit. And brands are responding – one example being the highly successful chocolate milk company Slate.

Founded by friends Manny Lubin and Josh Belinsky, Slate was founded the aim to boost milk consumption in the US and to bring innovation to the chocolate milk category. The brand’s better-for-you chocolate milk is targeted at adults, strongly sports-positioned and promoted with slogans like “strength starts here” or simply “Slate makes you strong”.

Using ultra-filtered milk, one 325ml can of Slate chocolate milk delivers 20 grams of protein, 1-3 grams of net carbs and no added sugar (the brand uses allulose and monk fruit as sweeteners). The product is lactose-free and said to be “shamelessly chuggable”. The brand has grown its retailer presence from 300 in 2020 to 12,000 in 2023 and has raised $25m in investments so far.

Learn more about Slate in this case study (exclusively for Premium license holders):

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