What comes to mind when you think of the product called Gatorade?
For many people, images of neon colors, sugary flavor profiles, the word "electrolytes," and those commercials of athletes sweating acidic-colored droplets are immediately conjured.
Apparently, however, the sports-drink would like for you to associate it with the word "organic."
After two years of research, PepsiCo Inc. is now rolling out a U.S. Department of Agriculture-certified organic version of Gatorade, which will be sold in strawberry, lemon, and mixed berry G Organic flavors.
Per Bloomberg, Brett O’Brien, Gatorade’s senior vice president and general manager, says that while right now the product is available in some Kroger Co. supermarkets, Gatorade plans to expand the rollout to select grocery, natural and convenience stores in the coming weeks. For now, the suggested retail price is $1.69 for a 16.9-ounce bottle, which is 50 cents more than Gatorade Thirst Quencher, the nonorganic equivalent, will run you.
When I was growing up, if you referred to something as a sports-drink, you were almost surely talking about Gatorade; indeed, it controls 70-percent of the sports-drink market even today, per Bloomberg.
However, with competition like coconut water on the rise, and with organic food industry sales in the U.S. reaching $43.3 billion in 2015, consumers are clearly attracted to drinks comprised of more healthful and whole ingredients.
"We heard pretty loud through the locker rooms, through our work with nutritionists, that there is an interest and a desire among athletes to go organic," O’Brien said in an interview, per Bloomberg. "Somewhere around 10 to 12 percent of athletes are saying they’re interested in purchasing organic products."
"In as much as they can focus on the potential to change ingredients without changing the taste, that’s sort of a win-win," said Adam Fleck, a beverage analyst at Morningstar Inc., per Bloomberg. "But you have to be very careful about alienating your current customers in a bid to attract lapsed customers or new customers."