Will Gatorade “G”-up its performance series?


Gatorade’s recent rebranding left one corner of its business untouched – the Gatorade Performance Series. The sub-brand aimed at serious athletes contains four product-lines for pre-, post- and during-workout uses, as well as a meal replacement. None of the products’ packages currently beam the giant Gs that have taken over the rest of the brand. Instead, the series still boasts a lightning bolt as its most prominent brand element.

At a time when Gatorade has increasingly pushed its product at casual users and Muscle Milk has cut a place for serious nutritional products in 7-Elevens, this represents an interesting (non-)development.

While the super-caloric pre-workout drink (79 grams of carbohydrates and 320 calories in 12 ounces) may not have a niche in minimarts, and the Endurance Formula (50 calories per 8 oz. serving with elevated electrolyte levels) may be too close to G2, it would appear that the mainstream market is ready for protein-based beverages.

And Gatorade already has two.

The brand’s meal replacement shake, at 20 grams of protein and 360 calories, is, ounce for ounce, similar to Nestle’s Boost shakes, albeit in a 50 percent larger package. The Protein Recovery Shake packs 20 grams of protein and 270 calories into a 12 oz. can. While that’s less protein and more sugar than Muscle Milk, it’s not a prohibitive difference. And the Gatorade name carries a lot of weight.

So why, when the brand has products that fit this new, mainstream segment, has it not included those entries in its mainstream rebranding? Gatorade didn’t respond to a request for comment, but the company may have another plan up its sleeve.

PepsiCo filed a trademark in August for Gatorade Protein Recovery Shake Be Strong, and showed off a mockup of a Muscle Milk-like bottle bearing the label at the National Association of Convenience Stores trade show in October. Company representatives there couldn’t speak to the product’s formula, but the presence of the package itself could offer a glimpse into Gatorade’s potential plan: take the old formula; put it in a bottle that fits the curvy motif of the protein category, and put a label on it that fits the G-theme.

Or, maybe, Gatorade’s going to sit this one out. Stay tuned.