Like many entrepreneurs, George and Mary Ann Clark, of Mac Farms Inc. (New York) had the dream of creating their own product, but needed expertise in technology to bring it to market. The Clarks wanted to develop a line of highly-nutritious, dairy-based beverages designed to appeal to older children from about 12 years old to young adulthood (Tweens) who no longer care to drink milk.

With help from scientists at the Northeast Dairy Foods Research Center (NDFRC), Dairy Management Inc.'s (DMI) research center at Cornell University (Ithaca, N.Y.), the Clarks were able to actualize their concept into a product, Refreshing Power Milk—RPM[tm]. RPM is a calcium-enriched, carbonated beverage made with 100% skim milk and marketed as a refreshing, nutritious beverage to Tweens and parents concerned about their children's calcium intake.

DMI proved valuable in providing funding as well as technical assistance through the NDFRC. Led by Joe Hotchkiss, Ph.D., the team helped Mac Farms save years of trial and error, says George Clark, because DMI's experience, “cut through several years of library and bench research.” There is much information about milk that was within the area of expertise of the scientists at Cornell and DMI. This was knowledge that would have taken the team at Mac Farms years of research to acquire, notes Clark. DMI has six dairy research centers in the U.S. These centers provide support to top dairy researchers, with the latest dairy technologies and information designed to help industry professionals compete and manufacture more effectively.

One problem the formulating team encountered was extending the product's shelflife to 60 days. “With the help of DMI, we were able to draw on the expertise and experience from the Cornell University scientists and apply it to our specific application of a carbonated, dairy-based beverage,” explains Clark. Another crucial element was to prove the health claims on the bottle. “If you have a product that has a health benefit, you need to prove the claims with scientific evidence. Since our production process is very unique in the industry, we needed the scientific expertise to take a standard milk production process and convert it into a carbonated, dairy-based production,” added Mary Ann Clark, a registered nurse.

RPM, available in Malgaxe (a vanilla cappuccino), Cacao Berry (chocolate raspberry) and Brazilian Chocolate, is said to provide 40% of the DV of calcium, 15% of potassium and 10% of magnesium per 8oz. serving. Additionally, RPM is lactose-free, caffeine-free, fat-free and low in carbohydrates.

The Clarks and DMI continue to work on other projects. Their company received DMI funding to produce Perq[r], a beverage specifically formulated for women of child-bearing age; and Perq-T, for those over the age of 65 who don't like to drink milk. “Seniors have so many other beverages to attract them that we formulated a beverage that will provide them all the nutrition of milk plus many other nutrients they need for a healthy lifestyle,” states George Clark.

DMI is the “domestic and international planning and management organization that builds demand for U.S.-produced dairy products on behalf of America's dairy farmers,” according to the DMI website. The organization provides funding and technical expertise for research done in the dairy industry.

For more information:
Dairy Management Inc.
Technical Support Hotline