Josh Belinsky and Manny Lubin are giving chocolate milk a clean slate. They both have loved chocolate milk since childhood, but there’s the lactose, sugar and short shelf life to deal with, as well as the containers depicting little kids or cartoon cows or bunnies. The 20-somethings and 30-somethings of the world are definitely not the target market.
“Why aren’t they?,” thought Josh and Manny. Chocolate milk is a classic, naturally protein-rich drink brimming with vitamins and electrolytes that tastes so very good! But 65% of the population are lactose-intolerant, and 77% are limiting or avoiding sugar. Also, the “use by” date makes stocking up on chocolate milk impossible.
So Josh and Manny set out to resolve the problems. Ultrafiltration eliminates the lactose and reduces the sugar content while retaining the protein. Monk fruit gives it just the right sweetness. Put the product in a can, use steam to sterilize it, and the shelf life increases to a year. And that’s how they came up with 100% natural, preservative-free, gluten-free, nut-free and non-GMO Slate milk. Chocolate milk with 50% less sugar than white skimmed milk, 75% less sugar than regular chocolate milk and 50% more protein than both. And protein without that chalky taste.
The milk comes from 30 family-owned dairy farms in upstate New York—all compliant under the Animal Welfare Act. The milk is skimmed and filtered. Natural ingredients are blended in, and it’s canned and heated at their production facility. Then it’s ready to go, right to your doorstep, without refrigeration, in fabulous flavors: Classic Chocolate, Dark Chocolate and Mocha Flip.
They taste like a “guilty pleasure” while jam-packed with:
- Protein that builds muscle, ramps up metabolism and makes you feel full to curtail overeating.
- Vitamins for strong skin, hair and teeth and increased energy.
- Electrolytes that hydrate your body as well as water or a sports drink.
Slate milk comes in recyclable aluminum cans with a, dare we say, sophisticated design: sleek, minimalist, rich dark brown matte. It’s a can you can take anywhere—for those of you hiding the too-cute cow behind plain brown wrapping when you enjoy your chocolate milk at work.
Josh and Manny, despite their love of chocolate milk, are unlikely purveyors of the drink—or any drink. They met while at Northeastern University in Boston. Josh was in an Entrepreneurial Studies program; Manny working toward a B.A. in Communications and Media Studies. Both were “techies” involved in separate startups. Josh was involved with a software for landlords to optimize their property and an app that allowed users to learn about professional networks and influential people right in their communities. Manny co-founded marketing firm, Reppr, now the leading job board offering millennials and Gen Z-ers brand ambassador and influencer opportunities.
They may have continued along their different paths, except for Manny remembering Josh was one of the few chocolate milk aficionados he knew and knowing that they would make a great team. When Manny pitched his idea for a new and improved chocolate milk, Josh was all in immediately.
Besides bringing chocolate milk to all those who are missing the inimitable treat, Slate milk will be doing its part to help the farmers. The Dairy Farmers of America reported that total sales for milk in 2018 dropped by more than $1 billion, affected by options such as almond milk, soy milk, rice milk, coconut milk. They are now fighting to get the FDA to prevent these “milk pretenders” from using “milk” on their labels when (1) they are not milk and (2) they are far less nutritious than milk. Slate milk is the real thing.