Article Archives
America’s First Sunflower Milk

Friday, December 15, 2006
filed under: Utilization/Trade

A common question the SunMilk Dairy Company receives from curious consumers: what does SunMilk™ taste like?

The simple answer is that the new dairy product tastes like milk because it is milk.

The dairy company combines protein- and calcium-rich, Grade A pasteurized, fat-free milk with just enough sunflower oil to help maintain low cholesterol and give SunMilk the creamy taste and feel of 1% or 2% milk, but without saturated or trans fats.

After seven years of extensive research, a new milk that replaced saturated fat with healthier monounsaturated fat was introduced in Australia in the early 1990s and became an instant success. Recognizing the impact this one-of-a-kind milk had in Australia, entrepreneurs Richard Farrell and David Hibbard acquired the patent rights and formed SunMilk Dairy Company, headquartered in Laguna Beach, Calif.

The product comes in 1% and 2% fat content and has the ‘Real’ dairy seal as well the American Heart Association seal. SunMilk is currently being test marketed in major chain and independent grocery stores in Los Angeles, San Diego, and Las Vegas.

Farrell says consumer response has been positive. And along with promoting the healthy merits of sunflower oil, the product is a plus for dairy producers as well. “In our test marketing we’re finding that many consumers who left the dairy case because of saturated fats are now switching back to drinking milk because they can have the taste they love and all the healthy benefits.” He adds that the dairy product also grew the milk category in Austrialia, and draws demand for use in recipes as well.

An encouraging sign is that Walmart has taken an interest in the product. “They have been very supportive and would like to see it expand.” Farrell says the company has plans to expand the product nationally next year.

Optimal Nutritional Profile

Sunflower is prominent in the product promotion. One side of the SunMilk carton describes “The Power of the Flower”. ‘Sure, they’re pretty on the outside, but inside, sunflowers pack a powerful and healthy punch. Sunflower oil contains unsaturated fat – otherwise known as “the good kind of fat” because it promotes a healthy heart and healthy cholesterol.’

Registered Dietitian Mitzi Dulan delves into a nutritional analysis of SunMilk and its benefits relative to traditional milk products in a 10-page White Paper online at

“Based on the data suggesting that replacing saturated fats with MUFAs (monounsaturated fats) provides numerous health benefits and aids in the prevention of specific diseases, SunMilk is by far the best option when compared with other milk offerings. In addition to a much improved fatty acid profile, SunMilk contains higher amounts of protein and calcium than conventional milk products. In fact, both nutrients exceed 20% of the daily value, making SunMilk an ‘excellent source’ of protein and calcium as defined by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

“SunMilk mirrors the new dietary recommendations, with zero saturated and trans fats, low cholesterol and high-quality MUFAs. It also has a creamier consistency and improved mouth feel over non-fat milk, so those who have abandoned the entire category because they could not transition from whole milk to non-fat milk may find satisfaction in SunMilk.

“Essentially, SunMilk is a nutrient-dense food that provides all of the vitamins and minerals delivered in conventional milk products (some in higher quantities) with a much improved fatty acid profile and no saturated fat. With a higher amount of protein and calcium than conventional milk, SunMilk is quite possibly the world’s healthiest milk.”

About 150 persons attending the 2006 NSA Summer Seminar got a chance to taste SunMilk; the overall response was very positive, says Lerrene Kroh, NSA meeting planner. – Tracy Sayler

return to top of page

   More about Sunflower ►