Gatorade targets tweens with new ‘Juiced’ variety

Gatorade continues to fend off competition in the sports drink sector with its latest variety, called Juiced—and it’s hoping to get pre-adolescent athletes hooked on the new brand. 

The juiced-based sports drink will contain the same level of electrolytes as regular Gatorade and come in flavors including mixed berry, apple raspberry and citrus berry punch, according to a fact sheet provided by the PepsiCo-owned brand.

Juiced was first reported by industry publication Beverage-Digest. It is formulated for “tween-aged kids running up and down a soccer field in 90-degree heat” who are “just getting into sports in a more aggressive way,” Gatorade Senior VP and General Manager Brett O’Brien told Beverage-Digest. The publication reported that the drink will be marketed as an all-natural product with no artificial colors, sweeteners or flavors.

A Gatorade spokeswoman declined to elaborate on advertising plans when asked on Friday by Ad Age. O’Brien told Beverage-Digest that Juiced would appear in the juice aisle where parents of school-aged children often shop for “celebratory post-game juice boxes.”

Gatorade still dominates the sports drink sector with more than 70 percent market share. But the brand’s sales have stagnated amid new competition from startups such as BodyArmor, which has marketed itself as a healthier sports drink option with ads starring pro athletes like soccer star Megan Rapinoe. Coca-Cola Co. has an investment in the brand. 

Gatorade grew dollar sales by 2.3 percent in 2019, but its volume market share fell nearly a point to about 70 percent, according to Beverage Digest. BodyArmor’s sales volume surged by 88 percent and it finished the year with a little more than 5 percent share. Coke-owned Powerade has 23 percent sports drink share.

Juiced follows the 2018 introduction of Gatorade Zero, a sugar-free alternative to regular Gatorade. On an earnings call last week, PepsiCo CEO Ramon Laguarta said Gatorade ended last year on a “very strong note.” He credited Zero, which he said delivered more than $600 million in measured retail sales in 2019.

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