Gatorade is adding caffeine to his repertoire with his Fast Twitch Energy Drink

Quick Twitch, from the makers of Gatorade

Source: PepsiCo

Gatorade falls into the energy drink category with an occasional caffeinated offering called Fast Twitch.

It represents yet another example of beverage companies blurring the lines between beverage categories, seeking to increase existing brand loyalty while entering rapidly growing categories. PepsiCo, Gatorade’s parent company, has already expanded the Mountain Dew company into alcoholic beverages and energy drinks.

The company says Fast Twitch is designed to give athletes an extra boost before workouts. The market for pre-workout powders is growing, backed by industry leaders such as Cellucor C4 and RSP Nutrition. But there are few pre-workout drinks, and many consumers are turning to soda and sugary energy drinks instead.

Anuj Bhasin, general manager of Gatorade, said nearly 32 million consumers reject the energy drink category due to negative health effects. Fast Twitch aims to appeal to these consumers, offering plenty of caffeine but no sugar or carbs.

The new drink is scheduled to launch in February, but NFL players will drink it on the sidelines during next season as part of an exclusive deal with the league. Bhasin said Gatorade worked with the NFL and sports performance experts to develop the specific formula.

The finished product comes in a small 12-ounce bottle with brightly colored packaging. While it is smaller in size, its taste is very similar to that of traditional Gatorade. A bottle of Fast Twitch contains electrolytes, B vitamins, and 200 milligrams of caffeine. For comparison, a 12-ounce can of Red Bull contains roughly half the amount of caffeine but contains 37 grams of sugar. Bolt24, another recent offshoot of Gatorade, contains just 75 milligrams of caffeine in the Energize line, which is being phased out.

“Two hundred milligrams is the right amount to help athletes seeking exercise performance benefits,” said Matthew Bank, chief scientist at the Gatorade Institute of Sports Science.

Since its inception nearly six decades ago, Gatorade has built its brand on hydration, spreading the word about the benefits of electrolytes and carbohydrates. But caffeine is a natural diuretic, removing salt and water from the body. as a result ofAnd the The company says Fast Twitch is meant to precede drinking a more hydrating drink during an actual workout.

“We know athletes will mix and match things,” Banki said.

According to Bhasin, Fast Twitch will target consumers 18 or older due to its high caffeine content.

Revitalizing sports drinks

Fast Twitch is following a broader push from Pepsi in the energy drink space.

Over the past three years, the company has bought Rockstar Energy for $3.85 billion, launched Mtn Dew Rise Energy with the endorsement of NBA star Lebron James and acquired a minority stake in emerging energy drink maker Celsius for $550 million.

Celsius is a potential competitor to Fast Twitch. The startup markets its drinks as “fitness drinks,” and its marketing features models that swing with kettle bells and stretch.

Another competitor has ties to Gatorade’s parent company. Bang Energy, which recently ended a tough distribution deal with Pepsi, has marketed itself as a pre-drink or recovery drink. In addition to being high in caffeine, it promotes “super creatine,” which claims to boost muscle performance, but contains no sugar.

But Pepsi is already the dominant leader in the US sports drink category, holding 73.2% of the market share with Gatorade and G Zero, according to Euromonitor International data. Bodyarmor jumped to second place in 2021 with an 11.7% market share, surpassing Coca-Cola Powerade. Coke bought full control of Bodyarmor in November for $5.6 billion in a play to increase market share.

Changing consumer tastes have slowed sales growth in the sports drink market, even as US adults get more exercise. Years of backlash from lawmakers and pediatricians about the high sugar and calories in sports drinks haven’t helped either.

But Gatorade is back again, focusing on options with more electrolytes and less sugar, like recent G Fit, Gatorlyte and Bolt24 spin-offs. In the second quarter, Pepsi reported double-digit revenue growth for the Gatorade brand.

However, not all of Gatorade’s innovations came to fruition. An organic version of the drink released in 2016 failed to take off and was discontinued after several years.

Energy is an opportunity in a fast-growing sector, but it lacks the confidence of exercise consumers. On the other hand, Gatorade has gained a lot of trust from this customer base.

“We found this to be the place to bring a new brand to market, with the distinction of being a Gatorade maker, much like Propel,” said Bhasin.

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