On August 14, Coca-Cola ($KO) announced that it would be buying a minority ownership stake in BODYARMOR, a sports-beverage company endorsed and partially owned by basketball legend Kobe Bryant. The company has not disclosed its exact investment amount, but even if it is an extremely small share, it is still an interesting step for the beverage giant that has attempted to beat (or at least rival) PepsiCo's Gatorade with Powerade in the sports-drink market.
While Gatorade may be losing steam on social media (as we reported here), it still fuels households at a pretty impressive scale.
To see how much Gatorade not only has a foothold in the sports drink market, but also in the average American's pantry, we turn to Walmart.com, which ranks the best selling products on its website. Here's what the shopping cart for the top-10 Walmart food items holds for August 14:
|M&M'S Variety Pack Chocolate Candy Singles Size 30.58-Ounce 18-Count Box||1|
|3 Musketeers, Full Size Chocolate Candy Bar, 1.92 Oz||2|
|Elmer Chocolate Rose Heart Box, 2 oz, 1 ct||3|
|Great Value Distilled White Vinegar, 128 Fl Oz||4|
|Great Value Pure Cane Sugar, 4 lb||5|
|Gatorade 20 Oz. Wide Mouth, Fruit Punch, 20 oz, Bottle||6|
|Great Value 100% Juice, Apple, 96 Fl Oz||7|
|Great Value Coffee Creamer, Original, 35.3 fl oz||8|
|Nestle Coffee-mate The Original Powder Coffee Creamer 35.3 oz. Canister||9|
|Campbell's Condensed Chicken Noodle Soup, 10.75 oz Can, (Pack of 4)||10|
A bundle of 24 Fruit Punch Gatorade bottles is more popular to Walmart.com consumers than Campbell's soup, coffee creamer and actual fruit juice. It still is losing out to some pantry essentials as well as three candy products (stocking up for Valentine's Day early, we presume?), but is still beating nearly every other food item online.
Gatorade has kept up its top-10 ranking through the summer, where of course, athletes are in need to recharge during an off-season practice or a few sessions of beach volleyball.
This translates to Gatorade having the largest share of the U.S. sports drink market; according to market research firm Euromonitor International, Gatorade commanded nearly 75 percent of the market in 2017 compared to Powerade's 17.5 percent while BODYARMOR claimed just 3 percent.
Gatorade commanded nearly 75 percent of the market in 2017 compared to Powerade's 17.5 percent while BODYARMOR claimed just 3 percent
However, BODYARMOR, a drink that markets itself as a "healthier alternative" to other brands, is breaking through right when Gatorade is scrambling to redefine its image with a new sugar-free drink — G Zero — that strays from its usual product line. Avoiding artificial sweeteners and colors, BODYARMOR is made from coconut water with several vitamins and electrolytes, such as potassium, as well as natural flavors. Its "Lyte" product line also touts only 6 grams of sugar and 40 calories in a 16-ounce package, far less than a regular bottle of Gatorade.
This timing could help BODYARMOR reach new heights in 2018 and beyond, which its co-founder and chairman, Mike Repole, hopes to see. In an interview with Coca-Cola published in its press release, Repole said the brand projects $400 million in sales this year, and hopes that it contiunes "100% growth year over year" over the next five years.
Will Coca-Cola quench its thirst for a Gatorade killer with BODYARMOR? Time will tell, but as it stands, overcoming the sports drink giant will definitely be a workout.