Powerade is expanding its product lineup for the first time in more than a decade with two new zero-sugar beverages. The company says they offer functional hydration solutions—plus a new packaging design—to meet the fast-changing needs of sport drink consumers.
The sports drink brand is kicking off the year with the launch of new packaging inspired by its proprietary Powerade ION4 Advanced Electrolyte System, followed by the late-January rollout of Powerade Ultra, a sports drink that includes creatine, branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), vitamins B3, B6 and B12 and more than 50 percent more ION4 electrolytes compared to original Powerade. In mid-February, Powerade Power Water will bring an electrolyte-enhanced sports water to the water aisle.
Powerade’s ION4 system, which the company says replaces the four primary electrolytes lost in sweat—sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium—anchors both new offerings.
“We’re responding to the shifting demands of the sports drink category with innovations that deliver on Powerade fans’ demands for no sugar and a range of hydration solutions for all sweat occasions,” said Shane Grant, president, Coca-Cola North America Stills Business Unit. “The definition of sports and athletes are constantly evolving. Hydration is no longer limited to sports—it’s a necessity for anyone living an active lifestyle.”
The first Powerade extensions since Powerade Zero (2007) were developed to meet the evolving—and varied—hydration needs of athletes spanning the activity spectrum. The company say they support the brand’s mission to “champion the power of sport for all” and further its legacy of both innovation and inclusion.
Powerade Ultra, which will be available in Mixed Berry, White Cherry and Citrus Blast, is the first ready-to-drink sports beverage to include shelf-stabilized creatine, a compound produced in the human body from specific amino acids and stored in the muscle. Coca-Cola North America R&D developed a breakthrough process to stabilize creatine, bringing the product from concept to final formulation in six months.
“This technology is new to The Coca-Cola Co.,” said Nilesh Karava, senior manager, active hydration product development. “Other beverage companies have been trying to crack the code on creatine shelf-stabilization for years, so this work is a clear demonstration of our team’s agility and curiosity.”
The Ultra formula was created based on insights from the Powerade Command Center—a piloted custom hydration program that uses the same micro-dosing technology found in Coca-Cola Freestyle fountain units. Command center technology allows users to personalize their hydration needs by toggling specific ION4 electrolytes found in Powerade and Powerade Zero Sugar.
“Powerade Ultra is not just innovative because of the breakthrough creatine stabilization,” said John Pinto, VP, active hydration. “It makes premium ingredients like BCAAs and creatine accessible in the form of a sports drink.”
The brand’s Power Water features ION4 electrolytes and vitamins B3, B6 and B12. It will be offered in three flavors—Berry Cherry, Tropical Mango and Cucumber Lime—in six-unit multi-packs of 16.9-oz. flat-cap bottles and individual 20-oz. sport cap bottles.
The company says the sports water category is growing double-digits annually.
“We’re bringing Powerade to the water aisle with Powerade Power Water,” said Marina Brook, group director of Powerade. “Consumers are seeking more zero-calorie and zero-sugar options in a sports water.”
The brand, which is partnering with NCAA March Madness and the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Team, has significantly increased its annual media investment and will launch full marketing campaigns for both properties.
“Powerade’s commitment to product innovation and strategic marketing and brand-building partnerships is a powerful proof point of our commitment—as a total beverage company—to stay a step ahead of the market with drinks and campaigns that respond to the evolving tastes of consumers,” Grant said.