Why Muscle Milk is Worth Mega Millions

Cytosport Inc. is a sports nutrition company founded by the father son team of Greg and Michael Pickett. The company created the popular protein drink Muscle Milk in 2000 and has become one of the leading supplement brands in the world. Last week the Wall Street Journal reported that the owners of Muscle Milk were looking to sell off the popular brand for an astonishing $500 million. The story by the WSJ has not been confirmed and there’s no indications that it will come to fruition. If it does, it will be one of the biggest deals in sports nutrition history. There are many things going for Muscle Milk and why they’re worth the reported millions.

It started as a powder in 2000 and has extended into bars, oatmeal and ready-to-drinks. There’s a variety of lines within each of these categories… Muscle Milk Light, Monster Milk, Pro Series and even a collegiate brand. When brands extend into other categories they often lose their voice and miss the mark. They’ve managed to keep the same flavor and brand integrity with each product. Having tried a number of products I can attest to their flavor but the oatmeal didn’t tickle my tastebuds.

Muscle Milk has reached “main stream” appeal… a goal most companies strive to achieve. Reality TV stars like JWOWW from the Jersey Shore have been seen drinking Muscle Milk and Lady Gaga requests it on her tour rider. Muscle Milk has attracted people who simply want a healthier lifestyle. Hosting events like events the Muscle Milk Fitness Retreat and creating Evolveâ„¢ has helped them build an audience beyond athletes. Their partnerships with colleges across the country help build their brand with student athletes. It’s easy to understand why Forbes named them one of the 25 Most Innovative Consumer and Retail Brands. They’re also not afraid to have fun with the brand as evident in this Thanksgiving spot.

Occasionally, supplement companies get a bad rap for their ingredients and “tainted” products. Cytosport prides itself on being free of banned substances and in 2007 received NSF certification. That plays into why Muscle Milk is one of the largest brands in the protein category and has outlasted many “cool” brands. They manufacture their own powder products at the company headquarters in Benicia, California and the facility is inspected and regulated by the FDA. That’s not to say they’re immune from litigation. The faced a lawsuit allegedly certain products contained lead, cadmium, and/or arsenic. CytoSport denied these claims and responded with independent testing. As stated on cytosportclassactionsettlement.com, “The Court did not rule in favor of plaintiffs or CytoSport. Instead, the parties agreed to a settlement to avoid the expense and risks of continuing the lawsuits.”

The company had success with athlete endorsements over the years but also know what it’s like to have athletes that don’t live up to company standards. They were early endorsers of NFL stars like Clay Matthews and Adrian Peterson. Basketball’s lovable Shaquille O’neal helped them launch Mighty Milk and they’ve been a player in the motorsports world with their own team. On the flip side, they wisely cut ties with New England Patriots Aaron Hernandez when he was arrested on murder charges. They had an endorsement deal with baseball’s Ryan Braun, winner of the won the 2011 National League’s most valuable player award, until he had a positive drug test. Muscle Milk’s current athlete roster is an impressive mix of men and women. It includes baseball’s three-time All-Star Clayton Kershaw, snowboarding pioneer, Olympic silver medalist and four-time X Games gold medalist Gretchen Bleiler, Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte and many others.

No company is flawless however when the people behind it are passionate about it, you can count on it being successful. Only time will tell if Muscle Milk will be sold to another company but regardless of who owns it you can count on the brand being found at convenient stores, Costco, Walmart, gyms and online for years to come.

Disclaimer: Reader discretion advised, please consult your physician before beginning any exercise or diet program.