Diet Gatorade??? Isn’t That Water?

Faced with increasing pressure from other beverage makers and the popularity of diet soft drinks, PepsiCo announced that Gatorade would introduce a low-calorie version later this year:

PepsiCo’s chairman and chief executive, Indra K. Nooyi, said consumers had consistently requested a lower-calorie version of Gatorade. While the drink is formulated for athletes while they are working out, she said the lower-calorie version would be marketed to athletes for use when they were less active.

The new beverage will be released later this year. A recent survey of 2,500 adults by Goldman Sachs suggests that there is a market: 43 percent of those who reduced their consumption of Gatorade said they were concerned with calorie content. While Gatorade remains a huge seller, it is competing with an ever-growing list of competitors, from new sports drinks to bottled water and "enhanced" water with added ingredients to increase its nutritional value. Coca-Cola is aggressively trying to expand its noncarbonated portfolio.

I can’t explain why, but ‘Diet Gatorade’ just sounds wrong. That said, I think there will be a market for it. As I’ve noted before, when I take teams to tournaments in hot weather, I bring Gatorade as a ‘treat’, but also to ensure they stay hydrated. Yes, water hydrates best. But the kids are more likely to stay hydrated with Gatorade because they’re more likely to actually drink it. But the calories in it are a concern. So any other time (practice and regular matches), I bring water.

Yet, as I’ve gotten more active coaching and playing pickup, I’ve found myself drinking more Gatorade, which has plenty of calories. While they claim the market is for ‘athletes when they are less active’, I think it would be just dandy to have some during activity too and know I’m consuming less calories. Yes, I could just drink water, but I just like it better than water when I’m active.

The big question is what it’ll taste like. A diet version of Gatorade will probably be worth doing if it tastes decent, even if diet Powerade didn’t sell well. How would you know? I don’t know many people who drink normal Powerade :). There’s marketing for you!

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