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Sunflower Seed Milk

Monday, November 25, 2019
filed under: Utilization/Trade

Courtesy: Sun Milk
Destiny Swinney’s passion for delicious and healthy food began at age 17 while she was in high school.  She studied culinary arts and competed at national-level contests.  A trained chef with 10 years of experience in large-scale food service, retail grocery restaurants and packaged foods, her latest project is all about sunflower.  She created Sun Milk sunflower seed milk, a passion project she visited about with Jody Kerzman.
 
 
Explain the idea behind your product.
Sun Milk started as a bit of a passion project.  Desiring clean ingredients, dense nutrition, killer taste and affordable ingredients, I created Sun Milk.  Even with excellent taste as a goal, I totally underestimated how amazing the product would turn out. 
 
I shared Sun Milk with the then-future co-founder Jordan Marinovich.  He was just as in love with it as I was, and his business mind started flowing.  After a little extra research into the market, he insisted that this was something we were going to create ourselves. 
 
How is sunflower used in your product?
The milk is made from organic U.S.-grown sunflower seed kernels.  Why eat a couple of handfuls of sunflower seeds when you can drink it? 
 
Why do you use sunflower?
We chose to use sunflower seeds not only for the economic costs versus a traditional nut base, but also because it is an allergy-friendly alternative to most of the plant milks on the market.  Sunflower seeds are also very high in nutritional content, which was important to us. We did not want to add artificial fortifications. 
      
Sunflower seeds are high in beneficial fats.  This enabled Sun Milk to boast a thick and creamy mouth feel, naturally. 
 
Where do you get the sunflower you use?
The sunflower we use is 100% U.S. grown.  We have built a relationship with an amazing U.S. seed supplier that sources from farms all over the country.  They supply us with our delicious organic seeds. 
 
What makes your products stand out?
Sun Milk is currently the only sunflower seed milk on the market.  Sunflower seeds are a staple in American culture; everyone knows and loves sunflower seeds.  We believe this can bring nostalgia to nearly every consumer.  On top of this, our milk truly has flavor and body like no other. 
 
What kinds of challenges have you faced along the way? 
Oh man, quite a few.  First, we had to prove that people would actually want to buy it, and then truly enjoy it. 

Second, we were just two really passionate foodies who truly believed that this needed to exist in the world but had no previous business background experience. 

Third, we financially bootstrapped the company until May of this year when we received our first business loan.  So, to say we have had to be very strategic about every move we’ve made would be a bit of an understatement. 

Overall, we started the company and figured everything out along the way. Our packaging and production progressed from make-to-order, glass mason jars with a two-week shelf life, to recyclable plastic bottles that extended our shelf life to 90 days. 

This shelf-life increase was the key to really turning this passion project into a real, thriving business with the potential of national distribution at some point. 
 
Approximately how much sunflower do you use?
Currently, we have been using around 300 pounds a month and growing.  Sun Milk will be gobbling up more and more sunflower seeds as our sales grow! 
 
What market segments do you supply?
Sun Milk is currently being sold at nine retail locations throughout Colorado, including Boulder, Denver, Louisville, Westminster, Wheatridge, Nederland and Colorado Springs
 
What is your customer’s perception of sunflower?
Most think of sunflower and automatically go to a few different places.  They think of warm summer nights watching a baseball game, the farmers’ beautiful sunflower fields, or all of the smaller, wild sunflower that pop up nearly everywhere around Colorado and beyond. 

Others have adopted the seeds into their lives for added nutrition or because they just enjoying snacking on these little tasty gems. 

Many are surprised when we share what the main ingredient is, but most everyone seems to have at least one fond memory of sunflower to draw excitement and curiosity from. 

Overall, sunflower seem to always bring a joyful reaction, and we hope that once they get past the initial inquisition about how a sunflower seed milk must taste, that they then find that joy is also drinkable. 
 
Are there any new offerings, new products on the horizon? 
Currently we only have one offering: our unsweetened Sun Milk.  However, we have plans to launch more flavors, as well as utilize our pulp byproduct into other amazing sunflower seed-based foods.
 
Are you doing advertising, PR, social media or grassroots efforts to promote your product? If yes, what? 
We are leveraging our grassroots social media presence to establish our brand, promote awareness and home in on messaging.  Check out our website — www.drinksunmilk.com — and follow us on Facebook and Instagram – just search “drink sun milk.”                                                                                        
 
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