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In Time for Summer, Sports Drinks Clean Up

By Jill Failla

 

May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month, when the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness & Nutrition encourages everyone to get outside and “Move in May.” And when it comes to exercising in the hot summer sun, in May and beyond, hydration is key. Knowing that many consumers turn to sports drinks to keep them hydrated during long or strenuous intervals of physical activity, here is a quick look at today’s trends in sports beverages that retailers should consider when stocking their shelves.

The SS PERFORMANCE BEVERAGES subcategory is a $6.3 billion market that’s declining 2.0% year over year. However, using SPINS’ proprietary Positioning Group attribute to look at natural products in this subset, we uncover a $109.6 million annual market with a notable 82.5% growth rate! It’s safe to say that artificial colors, flavors, and sweeteners are on notice: new natural performance drinks are making a play for shelf space.

In 2016, Gatorade launched its line of G Organic sports drinks, but many reports criticized the beverages’ high sugar content. While the sports-drink giant continues to innovate its G Organic flavors — most recently rolling out a Passion Fruit variety — other brands have since stepped up to offer lower-sugar varieties of natural and organic sports drinks. In 2017, K+ Organics launched a line of K+ organic sports drinks targeting young-adult athletes, with 14 grams of sugar per 16.9-ounce bottle to G Organic’s 29 grams.

In SPINS Expo West Recap, we featured NOOMA’s Organic Electrolyte Drinks, which use alternative sweeteners to reduce to the sugar count to 5 grams per 16.9 ounces. Appealing to the Paleo diet tribe, these drinks include concentrated coconut water, a blend of fruit juices and stevia for flavor and sweetness, and sea salt. Relatedly, SPINS’ Product Type attribute reveals triple-digit year-over-year growth rates for isotonic sports beverages with coconut water.

Coconut water isn’t the only type of plant water helping refresh sports drinks. SPINS’ Expo West Recap also featured The Maple Guild’s new Tapt. hydration and performance beverages, which contain maple-tree water with B-vitamins, electrolytes, and minerals. This brand purposefully hammers home the functional intent of its key ingredient. We wouldn’t be surprised to see more plant-based waters take center stage among sports drinks in the near future.

SPINSscan Natural and Specialty Gourmet (proprietary), SPINSscan Conventional Multi Outlet (powered by IRI), 13 Quads Ending 2018-Apr-22.

Only SPINS’ Product Intelligence attributes can provide you with a granular look at the evolving and nuanced health & wellness trends transforming retail today. Want to know more? Contact your SPINS rep or email spinsinfo@spins.com to dig deeper into data on natural sports drinks and other hot retail topics affecting your business.