CytoSport is a Benicia, California, manufacturer of sports-oriented nutritional products, or "supplements". It offers a line of protein-enhanced powders, shakes, and bars has broken into the mainstream market with a ready-to-drink form of protein supplement "Muscle Milk", a non-dairy beverage which is trans-fat-free, lactose-free, contain no high fructose corn syrup and is shelf stable. Muscle Milk mainly markets on taste by using familiar milkshake flavors such as banana, milk chocolate and vanilla to drive consumers to the product, along with multiple drink sizes and formats, including powders and being sold in convenience stores alongside regular energy drinks and sports drinks.
CytoSport was founded in 1998 by the father/son team of Greg and Mike Pickett. It produces its powder products and pre-blends of ready-to-drink products at a 150,000-square-foot (14,000 m2) manufacturing facility.
Its products are endorsed by Pro-Bowl Running Back Adrian Peterson, and by Mike Bottom, the head coach of the University of Michigan men’s swimming program and former co-head men's swimming coach at the University of California.
The company reportedly earned US$200 million in 2008, and received the Small Company of the Year Award at the 16th annual Beverage Forum presented by Beverage World magazine and Beverage Marketing Corporation.
Muscle Milk Team CytoSport
In 2007, Greg Pickett purchased a Lola B06/10 Le Mans Prototype LMP1 race car and competed in five rounds of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) with Klaus Graf as the second driver. For 2009 Cytosport purchased an ex-Dyson Racing Porsche RS Spyder and took part in four races with a best result of second in class at Road America.
CytoSport announced in February 2010 that it would contest the full 2010 ALMS in a RS Spyder. It was also announced that Sascha Maassen would join the regular drivers Klaus Graf and Greg Pickett at the longer races at Sebring, Laguna Seca and Road Atlanta. The CytoSport RS Spyder won the LMP2 division at the 12 Hours of Sebring and took their first outright victory at Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock.
Greg Pickett missed the remainder of the 2010 ALMS season due to a back injury sustained at Mid-Ohio race. The accident which happened during Thursday practice session meant that the CytoSport Porsche was unable to start the race. As replacements for the injury Pickett CytoSport were able to secure the services of Porsche works drivers Timo Bernhard and Romain Dumas both winners of the 2010 24 Hours of Le Mans. Bernhard shared the car at Road America where the pair finished second. Dumas partnering Graf at Mosport went one better by winning a shortened race.
For 2011, CytoSport will make the switch from Porsche to become an Aston Martin Racing Official LMP1 Team Partner for the American Le Mans Series. The complete driver line-up has been confirmed with Lucas Luhr and Klaus Graf driving in all races and Greg Pickett joining them for the long distance races such as Petit Le Mans.
A June 2010 investigation by Consumer Reports, a US consumer advocacy magazine, found that two of Cytosport's Muscle Milk products contained levels of heavy metals near or exceeding levels proposed by the United States Pharmacopeia (USP). Muscle Milk's Chocolate powder had four heavy metals, and three of these metals were found to be at the highest levels of all the health drinks tested. Average cadmium levels of 5.6 µg in three daily servings exceeded the USP limit of 5 µg per day, and the average lead level of 13.5 µg also topped the USP limit of 10 µg per day. The average arsenic level of 12.2 µg was near the USP limit of 15 µg per day. Muscle Milk's Vanilla Crème powder had 12.2 µg of lead in three daily servings, exceeding the lead limits, and 11.2 µg of arsenic. In response, CytoSport said, "Importantly, the tests underscored the fact that Muscle Milk Chocolate liquid shakes, by far and away our company's most popular consumer form of Muscle Milk, did not exceed the proposed maximum levels of any heavy metals tested, even when used three times per day."
On June 8, 2009, it was reported that The National Advertising Division (NAD) of the Council of Better Business Bureaus (BBB) was referring advertising claims made by CytoSport Beverage Co. for its Muscle Milk product to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and U.S. Food and Drug Administration for review. Under its National Advertising Review Council terms, NAD had asked Cytosport to substantiate certain claims following a challenge to its advertising filed by Nestle USA. Nestle said the marketing of Muscle Milk is false and misleading, alleging consumers would be misled into thinking it is a supplemented milk product instead of a dietary supplement. CytoSport said its product claims are truthful and non-misleading, and that the product name is a non-deceptive registered trademark; it declined to participate in the NAD review, stating the review was unnecessary and inappropriate.
On May 6, 2009, in Sacramento, California, a federal court issued a preliminary injunction requiring Vital Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (VPX) to immediately remove Muscle Power from the marketplace, after concluding that the product infringes on CytoSport's trademark rights of Muscle Milk. This was prompted after CytoSport filed a lawsuit against VPX, stating that Muscle Power's packaging, or "trade dress", was deceptively similar to Muscle Milk's packaging. The court held that "VPX has chosen an identical font, in an identical color, on an identically shaped package, and placed the mark on the package in an identical location."
- Cytosport Inc.: Flexing Some Muscle Beverage World Website
- Behind Our Product CytoSport Website
- Banking on Main Street's Tastes TSG Consumer Partners Website
- Cytosport Returns With Porsche RS Spyder Speed TV Website 2009-06-20 Retrieved 2010-03-17
- 2009 ALMS Road America Results ALMS Website Retrieved 2010-03-17
- CytoSport to do full ALMS season Autosport Website 2010-02-10 Retrieved 2010-03-17
- Maassen to rejoin CytoSport Autosport Website 2010-02-19 Retrieved 2010-03-17
- 2010 12 Hours of Sebring Results American Le Mans Website 2010 12 Hours of Sebring provisional results
- "ALMS Lime Rock Final Results" (PDF). International Motor Sports Association. 2010-07-24. Retrieved 2010-07-24.
- "Greg Pickett Medical Update". Americanlemans.com. Retrieved 2010-08-07.
- "Bernhard and Dumas join Muscle Milk Team CytoSport". Planetlemans.com. 2010-08-16. Retrieved 2010-08-21.
- "ALMS Road America Final Results" (PDF). International Motor Sports Association. 2010-08-23. Retrieved 2010-08-23.
- "ALMS Road America Final Results" (PDF). International Motor Sports Association. 2010-08-29. Retrieved 2010-08-30.
- "FINAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINT STANDINGS" (PDF). American Le Mans Series. International Motor Sports Association. Retrieved 7 October 2010.
- "Muscle Milk Team partners with Aston Martin for 2011". International Motor Sports Association. 5 January 2011. Retrieved 5 January 2011.
- Consumer Reports, press release of study published in July 2010 issue of magazine, http://pressroom.consumerreports.org/pressroom/2010/06/investigation-tests-reveal-contaminants-in-many-protein-drinks.html, accessed June 29, 2010
- Cytosport statement, May 30, 2010, accessed June 29, 2010, http://www.cytosport.com/news/press
- NAD Refers CytoSport Ads to FTC Natural Products Insider Website
- CytoSport Secures Preliminary Court-Ordered Injunction of Muscle Power Due to Infringement of Muscle Milk Trademark BevNET.com Website