Meet the team behind Chilk!
It was a sunny morning; the days of the pandemic lockdown were beginning to blur together. At a such a chaotic and uncertain moment in history, friends Leo and Cole yearned for the simple feeling of comfort and familiarity the pandemic had taken away from them. As they sat together at brunch, trying to remember the last time they felt that way, the kept coming back to a childhood experience they shared: drinking a tall glass of milk with every meal. This was a product of the common belief in the benefits of milk for young kids and even though they both hated it at the time, looking back on it at that moment gave them the comfort they had been looking for.
Cole proceeded to ask Leo, a biochemistry student pursuing his Ph.D at the time, about the possibility of genetically engineering cows to produce milk with enhanced calming properties. He thought would be a hit amongst college-aged students looking for something to counteract the stress of daily life as well as the nostalgia of a good ol’ glass of milk. In response, Leo proposed the idea of cutting the cow, a notorious polluter, out of the equation and creating a formula from sustainable, plant-based ingredients.
With a test batch of Chilk made from almonds, Cole and Leo joined forces with some friends and submitted their idea to the 2021 Hult Prize competition. Over the course of their journey through the different phases of the Hult Prize, they solidified their mission and product, with a focus on finding balance between ambition and pragmatism.
Since winning Hult Prize, Chilk has come a long way from its humble origins. After looking for some further inspiration, the Chilk team realized that the most popular drink among college kids was boba milk tea; however, they also discovered that that drink was high in sugar, calories, and artificial preservatives. The team figured "if you can't beat them, join them" and developed a healthy, all-natural, vegan alternative to conventional boba milk teas, which they sell at events and markets all over Los Angeles.
Chilk strives to give their customers the peace of mind of knowing that what they're putting into their bodies is good for them. Their success will create a world more focused on mindfulness, generating a higher quality of life by favoring healthier and more sustainable alternatives to typical food and beverage products. With much of their work done and even more work to do, the team at Chilk is poised to grow and thrive.
Check out their Instagram!