The hydration giant told us that Gatorade introduced Recovery and Immune Support after recognizing the need for both exercise recovery and immune support solutions, so they leaned on resources in partnership with the Gatorade Sports Science Institute (GSSI) to develop a science-backed gummies that enables athletes to optimize their performance.
“Our team at the Gatorade Sports Science Institute has been focused on solving athlete problems through decades of research in hydration and nutrition. By listening to our athletes in the lab and on the field, we’re able to democratize our sport science research and develop new products for athletes,” said Eric Freese, Principal Scientist, Gatorade Sports Science Institute.
Joshua Schall, MBA, President, J. Schall Consulting, noted that these innovations have freshened up the brand at a time of heightened competition.
“With PepsiCo leadership consistently lauding its performance nutrition division of late, it's not a surprise that they're confidently taking on more innovation risk by moving into additional non-beverage form factors,” said Schall.
Gatorade Recovery Gummies are formulated with 480 mg of tart cherry powder and 20 mcg of vitamin D designed to help support exercise recovery. According to research, 480 mg of tart cherry powder per day in the days leading up to and following intense exercise supports exercise recovery.
Gatorade Immune Support Gummies come in a citrus flavor and contain 90 mg of vitamin C, 3.3 mg of zinc, 50 mcg selenium and 10 mcg of vitamin D.
Gene Bruno, VP of Scientific and Regulatory Affairs at Twinlab, said he can appreciate Gatorade’s decision to enter the gummy market, given the popularity of this delivery form. But from a formulation perspective, the new offerings just don’t hit the mark.
“In examining their two new gummy products, ‘Recovery’ and ‘Immune Support’ (both touted as ‘Gummies for Athletes’), I have to say that I’m not entirely impressed. Their ‘Recovery’ formula provides 20 mg of sodium, 20 mcg of vitamin D, and 480 mg of tart cherry fruit powder. While sodium is certainly an electrolyte, this gummy formula falls short of the well-researched electrolyte and carbohydrate blend found in their conventional Gatorade drinks—and while 20 mcg of vitamin D is nice, I’m not clear on rationale for its inclusion with regard to athletic recovery.”
“Regarding the ‘Immune Support’ gummy, it’s alright—but unsurprisingly lackluster. Providing between 30% and 100% of the daily value for vitamin C, vitamin D, zinc and selenium, it's about as common an immune formula as I’ve seen on the market. Nevertheless, the presence of the nutrients therein does provide a rationale for immune support claims. In my opinion, this is a better formula than their ‘Recovery’ gummy,” said Bruno.
Is going beyond on the beverage enough?
While he’s not particularly confident that these gummies will meet the sales expectations of PepsiCo, Schall said he does give the fourth-largest beverage brand in the US market credit for trying new things in a changing retail and consumer landscape. “Failed innovations used to be extremely detrimental to these legacy brands, but that has been minimized by the increased noise that caused consumers to have shorter memories,” he said.
Schall, a CPG strategist, told Nutraingredients-USA that Gatorade is being intelligent by initially launching these gummies exclusively through its direct-to-consumer website. “That's a much less risky go-to-market strategy and gives Gatorade the opportunity to gain consumer insights and use that to model projected demand levels in large brick-and-mortar retailers.”
Tech for the win
In the same announcement as the gummies, Gatorade announced the Smart Gx Bottle, an offering the brand describes as a “personal hydration coach in a bottle.” Another new addition is an upgrade to the Gx App, including new workout programs modeled on those used by some of Gatorade’s A-list athlete partners, such as Serena Williams and pro soccer player Mallory Pugh.
According to Schall, this is much more exciting than the gummies.
“The new version of the Smart Gx bottle can now connect to Gatorade’s app and has a lid that lights up to act as a reminder of an athlete’s goal that day. As Gatorade further builds out its ecosystem of app features, smart accessories, and wearables, that technology layer can really amplify everything Gatorade stands for,” said Schall. “This provides huge personalization opportunities in the future.”
Last year Gatorade launched the Gx system, which kicked off with the Gx sweat patch, an offering that pairs with the app and helps athletes track their performance.