Gatorade, a brand synonymous with vibrantly-colored sports drinks, has made a surprising move with its latest offering: Gatorade Water, a clear, unflavored beverage. Unlike its colorful predecessors, this new product focuses entirely on the booming “functional water” market, projected to be worth $12 billion by 2032.
What Is Gatorade Water?
Gatorade Water, which is set to hit stores next year, is infused with electrolytes and undergoes a rigorous seven-step filtration procedure. Depending on the bottle size, it contains 65 to 90 milligrams of sodium for the 700-milliliter and one-liter bottles, respectively. According to Gatorade’s owner, PepsiCo, the beverage also boasts enhanced pH levels.
The electrolyte content in Gatorade Water is significantly lower than in classic Gatorade, which contains sodium, potassium and sugars (carbohydrates). This contrasts with their 2021 release, Gatorlyte, which boasts a higher electrolyte concentration than standard Gatorade. Additionally, the newly introduced Gatorade Fit, is enriched with vitamins and has reduced levels of sodium, sugar and carbohydrates compared to traditional Gatorade.
While Gatorade is a dominant name in the sports drink industry, its growth hasn’t surpassed competitors like BodyArmor lately. Michael Del Pozzo, Gatorade’s president, highlighted that nearly “30 million consumers today are not reaching for enhanced water at all,” primarily because they are unfamiliar with the brand or don’t trust it. Introducing Gatorade Water with the iconic orange bolt on its packaging aims to capitalize on the brand’s established trust and credibility.
Research by the company discovered a demand among athletes for premium unflavored water that delivers perceived health benefits, such as faster recovery and improved gut health. Gatorade Water seeks to meet this demand.
Many brands, such as Essentia and SmartWater, have enjoyed a surge in popularity, offering the benefits of alkaline and electrolyte-infused water. However, the effectiveness of alkaline water, with pH levels above the neutral seven, is a subject of debate among health professionals. Despite the unclear scientific consensus on the health advantages of alkaline water, the trend persists, with drinkers asserting it aids weight loss, clearer skin and even combats cancer.
Although tangible scientific backing is sparse, the market for functional water continues to expand. Many consumers are increasingly focusing on hydration as an integral part of their daily health regimen. Once dominated by sports beverages like traditional Gatorade and Powerade, the market has witnessed an influx of varied products, from powder concentrates to nutrition supplements.
With Gatorade Water, the brand aims to enhance its consumer base and remain competitive. Del Pozzo acknowledged the sustained popularity of functional water during and post-pandemic. But Gatorade Water will be competing in a packed market, with strong contenders like Coca-Cola’s Smartwater and other PepsiCo products, including LIFEWTR and Propel. However, the uniqueness of Gatorade Water is seen as complementing these existing brands.
As the launch approaches, the challenge remains to establish Gatorade Water’s distinct identity and answer the pivotal question: Why would consumers pay more for Gatorade Water than regular water? For Gatorade, it could be a golden opportunity to augment the brand in ways competitors might find challenging.
Interestingly, the Gatorade brand, founded in 1965 as a sports drink to replace water for athletes, has now returned to its roots by introducing its very first water product.