After dominating the sports drink market for decades, the Pepsi-owned brand Gatorade has made a drastic change to its ingredients list to stay competitive. Last week marked the launch of Gatorade Zero in three flavors that are all sugar-free. The company has recognized the need for providing choices to athletes and fitness enthusiasts who have moved towards sugarless and carb-free options for hydration and nutrition.
CNN Money reported that Gatorade has been the gold standard for hydration since Pepsi Co. acquired the brand in 2001. However, changes in consumer trends have pushed the industry leader to stay adapt. Not only has new competition caused a decrease in sales, but Gatorade has also lost ground in regards to its market share.
Self-dubbed “The Sports Fuel Company,” Gatorade and the Gatorade Sports Science Institute (GSSI) have developed hydration products and foods specifically geared for the needs of world class athletes like Michael Jordan and Serena Williams. According to Gatorade’s website, their product line aims to address the needs of athletes “before, during, and after” their workouts.
“In totality, Gatorade’s portfolio of products goes well beyond its hydration products and includes other foods and nutrients athletes need to power through their workouts or competitions.”
The company will continue their scientific approach to fueling top-notch athletic performance but has found other ways to make their products palatable. Gatorade Zero is currently available in glacier cherry, lemon-lime, and orange flavors. Pepsi Co. CEO Indra Noori told analysts back in April that their goal is to give athletes “more flexibility.”
“Gatorade Zero will address the large and growing demand by athletes for additional hydration options,” Nooyi said according to CNN Money. “Zero will give our athletes more flexibility.”
By providing athletes more options, Gatorade also hopes to reclaim their market share. Coca-Cola has had great success with their launch of Powerade Zero some 10 years ago. Powerade boasts zero grams of sugar and is available in six flavors: fruit punch, mixed berry, grape, lemon-lime, orange, and strawberry. But just like Gatorade Zero, Powerade contains genetically-modified ingredients (GMO’s) including the sweeteners sucralose and acesulfame potassium.
Taking a “more natural” approach, Kobe Bryant’s sports drink brand BodyArmor touts clean ingredients like pure cane sugar and fruit and vegetable extracts in lieu of artificial dyes and flavorings. Body Armor is vegan, gluten-free, Kosher, and contains no caffeine.
On the way to becoming a viable competitor in the sports drink industry, Bryant’s brand has been endorsed by James Harden of the Houston Rockets, the WNBA’s Skylar Diggins-Smith, and the NFL’s Richard Sherman among others. BodyArmor also serves as the official drink of the UFC. Their motto? “Thanks, Gatorade. We’ll take it from here.”