Review: Gatorade Organic

Posted: Nov 11, 2016 at 11:31 AM (Last Updated: Nov 14, 2016 at 1:02 PM)

Covers Products: Lemon, Mixed Berry, Strawberry

USDA Organic Gatorade. Where do we even begin? It’s the drink that created the sports drink category and still to this day accounts for several billion dollars in sales. But it’s also had a somewhat checkered history, with several line extensions that have failed to gain traction and plenty of bad PR back in 2014 regarding the use of brominated vegetable oil (which they’ve since removed). They even failed with “natural” Gatorade, although they seem to blame timing and the weakness of natural as a value proposition.

Fast forward a few years and the notion of Gatorade Organic brings mixed feelings. On the one hand, it’s a totally logical extension that is, honestly, long overdue. But on the other hand, and continuing with the points above, it’s hard to guess how consumers will perceive this and if it will be credible in this smaller, more serious looking, colorless formulation.

The initial Gatorade Organic offering includes three flavors: Strawberry, Mixed Berry, and Lemon. Of the three, only Lemon tastes like something that’s obviously a Gatorade flavor and it’s not all that far off from their flagship Lemon-Lime flavor. As far as sports drinks go, all three are requisitely sweet and saline.. But they don’t really stand out and the lack of color gives us mixed feelings (more on that later).

The bottle, which is the same bottle that they previously used for their G2 Natural offering, is a 16.9 oz. plastic bottle that has a raised lightning bolt shape that spans the width of the bottle. It’s nice looking, but feels and looks noticeably smaller than what Gatorade usually offers (20 oz. or larger bottles).

So where does this leave us? On the surface, it’s definitely not a bad product. But our concern is that the feel and taste are of a reduced or compromised version of the flagship offering, rather than a premium or even par version.. The liquid lacks color, which is part of the sensory experience, the bottle is smaller, and the flavors aren’t as strong. In essence, they seem to be saying “you can have an organic sports drink, but it won’t be as good as the original.” From our perspective, that’s a significant reason why G2 Natural and some of their other line extensions have failed.

Is there anything about Gatorade Organic that might make this play out differently? While being USDA Organic feels a whole lot more substantial than being “Natural,” we’re not sold that this brand’s path -- at least in the long-term, once it gets past the initial trial purchases -- will be all that much different from its predecessor’s.

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