Red Mango, the fast-growing frozen-yogurt and smoothie quick serve, has taken its smoothies to the varsity level in a first-of-its-kind corporate partnership with Baylor University Athletics.
Never before has a deal been made between a fro-yo or smoothie quick serve and an NCAA Division 1-A college program, the company says. Red Mango will provide smoothies to Baylor athletes and strength training and conditioning staff in a move that emphasizes the impact of health and nutrition on athletic performance.
“You simply cannot succeed in today's college athletic environment without a strong nutrition program,” says Kaz Kazadi, assistant athletics director for Baylor University Athletic Performance. “With good nutrition, you see clear reduction of injuries, better body composition, and quicker recovery time. These smoothies are a part of the program to help provide that.”
Dan Kim, founder and chief concept officer of Red Mango, says Baylor reached out to him initially about the relationship. The athletics department loved the nutritional profile of the smoothies, he says, which offer a quick way to deliver healthy calories to the athletes.
It also appreciated the all-natural component and the strain of probiotic in Red Mango’s products. Kazadi credits the natural probiotic GanedenBC30 and its support of the immune and digestive system, which he says are “essential to the health and nutrition of the athlete.”
Available to all of Baylor’s varsity sports at the University’s Simpson Athletics and Academics Center, the smoothies are used before and after workouts, as well as throughout the day. "Red Mango products have produced quantifiable, positive results with our athletes,” says Adam Davis, associate director of football nutrition with Baylor University Athletic Performance.
Twelve of Red Mango’s more than 100 stores are on or near college campuses, including Purdue University, Ohio State, and Texas A&M, with development plans for several more to open this summer and fall. Although the partnership with a university’s athletics department isn’t a relationship Kim had ever thought possible, it makes sense, he says.
“We’re the only company out there that has an all-natural formulation,” Kim says. “Most other smoothie manufacturers don’t have all-natural ingredients or use probiotics.”
As other higher-education institutions follow Baylor’s strategy, Red Mango is ready to accommodate. Kim says talks are in the works with the University of Mississippi, University of Nebraska, and the University of Florida for a similar partnership.
“I’m excited about it,” Kim says. “There is no precedence for it. I talk to football players on Twitter now. It's been pretty cool.”
By Lori Zanteson