Athletes HoneyMilk LLC, Austin, Texas, a subsidiary of Select Milk Producers, Artesia, N.M., a co-op of 77 family-owned farms located in West Texas and New Mexico, uses honey as a sweetener, flavor and energy source in its namesake beverage line: Athletes HoneyMilk. The product starts with fresh milk that goes through a patented cold-filtration process to remove the lactose and concentrate the proteins. This takes place at the company’s Dexter, Texas-based processing facility, and is followed by mixing with honey and other ingredients. The high-protein nutritional drink blend is shipped by tanker trucks to Jasper Products, Joplin, Mo., for aseptic filling into 11.5-ounce plastic bottles.
The original honey-flavored product debuted about two years ago in an aseptic box. Honey not only sweetens the milk and provides an appealing flavor profile, honey is said to boost athletic performance and endurance while reducing muscle fatigue. Along with added whey and casein to build lean muscle, and minerals and vitamins to balance the body’s cellular and structural systems, the product is able to sport the tagline: Rebuild. Refuel. Recover.
About 10 months ago, three new varieties (vanilla, and light chocolate and light coffee) joined honey when the shelf-stable bottled product debuted. Most recently light strawberry banana was added to the line. The regular varieties contain 26 grams of protein and 240 calories. The light versions rely on acesulfame potassium to reduce the calorie content to 150; they also provide 20 grams of dairy protein. The company is working on stevia-based light versions and hopes to have them in the market before the end of the year.