Gatorade’s newest drink: Water

Sep 7, 2023, 9:00 AM

Gatorade’s newest beverage doesn’t look or taste like its other neon-bright drinks. In fact, it...

Gatorade’s newest beverage doesn’t look or taste like its other neon-bright drinks. In fact, it’s just water. (Mandatory Credit: Gatorade)

(Mandatory Credit: Gatorade)

New York (CNN) — Gatorade’s newest beverage doesn’t look or taste like its other neon-bright drinks. In fact, it’s just water.

The PepsiCo-owned brand, best known for its fruit-flavored sports drinks like Fierce Grape or Frost Glacier Cherry, is adding Gatorade Water. It’s a major bet that the brand can tap into the growing “functional water” category (i.e. water that is perceived to have additional health benefits) that’s projected to reach $18 billion in sales in the next two years.

Hitting shelves early next year, Gatorade Water is an electrolyte-infused, unflavored water that’s filtered with a 7-step filtration process, according to the company, and contains alkaline as well an enhanced pH levels. Water is the latest addition to Gatorade’s growing portfolio that extends beyond its flagship recovery drink and into energy beverages, protein powders and capsules. Although the brand is the category leader, Gatorade sales haven’t grown as quickly compared to BodyArmor.

The company’s research shows “about 30 million consumers today are not reaching for enhanced water at all,” according to Michael Del Pozzo, president of Gatorade. “Most cases, it’s because it’s not a brand that they know and trust.”

With the Gatorade branding and its signature orange bolt on the water’s packaging, Del Pozzo believes that 58-year-old brand can bring “credibility” and disrupt the functional water category that has seen rapid growth in recent years because consumers think enhanced water provides specific benefits.

Del Pozzo said that their research discovered that athletes are “seeking premium unflavored water” to drink throughout the day, as well as a water that contains ingredients that are important to them and comes with “perceived health benefits,” including quicker recovery and improving gut health.

Alleged health benefits

Brands like Essentia and SmartWater have benefited from popularity in recent years for boasting alkaline and electrolyte in water. The trend has grown because celebrities and influencers claim it helps with weight loss, clear skin and even fighting cancer.

Specifically, alkaline water is a water that has a higher pH level than tap water. Seven is a neutral pH. The higher the pH level the more alkaline, or basic, it is. The lower the pH level, the more acidic it is. Gatorade Water has pH levels of 7 and higher.

“Tap water has a pH of roughly around 7, and alkaline water is closer to about 8 or 9,” said Malina Malkani, a registered dietician, nutritionist and spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “Alkaline compounds are salts and metals that, when added to water, make it more basic.”

However, she previously told CNN that “there’s really not a lot of evidence either supporting of the health claims that are made about alkaline water or refuting the claims.”

“It’s one of those fads that people are making all kinds of claims about, you know, ‘It’s a miracle cure, and it’s a curative for so many different things, and it can boost your metabolism and prevent cancer,’ and there’s just a lot we don’t know,” she said.

Dr. Leana Wen, a George Washington University public health professor and CNN medical analyst, said that “there are many claims about the supposed health benefits of electrolyte-infused and alkaline water, but very little scientific evidence.”

“For the vast majority of people who live in areas with drinkable water, normal tap water is the best form of hydration,” she told CNN.


Still, despite the unproven and perhaps dubious health benefits, the functional water category has grown because consumers are “simply interested in prioritizing hydration as part of their everyday health routine,” Howard Telford, head of soft drinks at Euromonitor, told CNN.

Once the “exclusive domain of sports drinks” like Gatorade or Powerade, the category has seen an “explosion of new formats and styles across powder concentrates, tablets and sports nutrition supplements,” Telford said. Expanding into water helps Gatorade “widen the base” of its consumers and expand the brand’s appeal.

Gatorade’s Del Pozzo said that functional water experienced a “big surge” during the height of the pandemic, and it has “maintained that momentum for quite some time.”

Gatorade Water is joining a crowded category. It’s currently dominated by Coca-Cola’s Smartwater, capturing nearly 27% of the US market share, according to Euromonitor data. Other popular brands include Nestle-owned Essentia and two other PepsiCo-owned brands including LIFEWTR and Propel, a flavored water, that the company sees Gatorade Water being “complementary” to.

Part of the marketing challenge ahead of its launch is building and marketing the brand with “credibility so people understand ‘Why would i potentially pay more than i would for a base water?’ and ‘What does it bring in water that I couldn’t get today?,’” he said.

“When we think about water, this is really an opportunity for us to build out this whole other component of our portfolio that our competitors can’t do,” Del Pozzo said.

Related: Forget that pumpkin spice-flavored latte. That is not pumpkin. These foods are!

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Business + Economy

FILE - New graduates line up before the start of a community college commencement in East Rutherfor...

Mark Jones

With student loan payments starting up, financial advisor offers tips

With the arrival of October, student loan payments will now resume.

10 hours ago

a "sold" sticker is shown on a "for sale" sign - DAVIS COUNTY, Utah -- Wannabe homebuyers in Davis ...

Aimee Cobabe

Davis County hopes to lower home prices by offering new loan

Wannabe homebuyers in Davis County can now apply for a new loan from the county. The hope is that this will help lower home prices over time.

13 hours ago

Frontline healthcare workers hold a demonstration on Labor Day outside Kaiser Permanente Los Angele...

Chris Isidore, CNN

Health care is in crisis. The looming strike by 75,000 health workers is just another sign of that

75,000 health care workers are participating in the nation’s largest health care strike in history.

23 hours ago

A pedestrian views diamond jewelry in the window of a store in the Diamond District neighborhood of...

Eva Rothenberg, CNN

Diamond prices are down as people spend more on travel and food

Prices for rough diamonds — the unpolished and uncut stones — have dipped in 2023 as many post-pandemic consumers shy away from luxury goods.

1 day ago

Apple is blaming a software bug and other issues tied to popular apps such as Instagram and Uber fo...

MICHAEL LIEDTKE AP Technology Writer

Apple says it will fix software problems blamed for making iPhone 15 models too hot to handle

Apple is blaming a software bug and other issues for causing its recently released iPhone 15 models to heat up and "becoming too hot to handle."

2 days ago

A photo of I-15 filled with cars. The Utah Department of Transportation is collecting information a...

Emma Keddington

I-15 expansion will cost more than double original UDOT estimate

A plan to expand I-15 from Salt Lake City to Farmington is going to cost more than double what UDOT initially pitched.

4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

Wellsville Mountains in the spring with a pond in the foreground...

Wasatch Property Management

Advantages of Renting Over Owning a Home

Renting allows you to enjoy luxury amenities and low maintenance without the long-term commitment and responsibilities of owning a home.

Clouds over a red rock vista in Hurricane, Utah...

Wasatch Property Management

Why Southern Utah is a Retirement Paradise

Retirement in southern Utah offers plenty of cultural and recreational opportunities. Find out all that this region has to offer.

Human hand holding a protest banner stop vaping message over a crowded street background....

Prosperous Utah Communities

Utah’s Battle to Protect Youth from Vaping Epidemic Faces New Threat as Proposed Rule Threatens Progress

Utah's strict standards of nicotine levels in vaping products are at risk, increasing health hazards associated with use. Read more about how you can advocate for a better future for Utah's youth.

Aerial photo of Bear Lake shoreline with canopies and people camped out on the beach...

Visit Bear Lake

Last-Minute Summer Vacation Planning? Check Out Bear Lake!

Bear Lake is the perfect getaway if you are last-minute summer vacation planning. Enjoy activities with your whole family at this iconic lake.

close up of rose marvel saliva blooms in purple...

Shannon Cavalero

Drought Tolerant Perennials for Utah

The best drought tolerant plants for Utah can handle high elevations, alkaline soils, excessive exposure to wind, and use of secondary water.

Gatorade’s newest drink: Water