Gatorlyte joins PepsiCo's Gatorade portfolio of products geared towards athletes which includes the company's original Gatorade Thirst Quencher, G Zero (zero-sugar), G2 (lower sugar), Gatorade Juiced juiced-based sports drink, and G Endurance (2X the sodium and potassium of Gatorade Thirst Quencher).
"We’re absolutely obsessed with helping athletes improve their performance, and we created this to give athletes more choices," Braff told FoodNavigator-USA.
Available in three flavors (Cherry Lime, Orange and Strawberry Kiwi), Gatorlyte has 50 calories with 12g of added sugar per bottle.
While Gatorade has always positioned itself on improving athletic performance, "This is the first time we’ve talked hydration first and the first time we’ve really been able to send home the message of rapid rehydration to the consumer," claimed Braff.
Where Gatorade Thirst Quencher features key hydrating electrolytes, sodium and potassium, Gatorlyte kicks the hydration formula up a notch with the addition of three additional electrolytes: magnesium, calcium, and chloride, along with a lower amount of sugar to deliver electrolytes quickly to the body, said Braff.
According to Braff, Gatorlyte came out of years of development and consumer trials by scientists at the Gatorade Sports Science Institute (GSSI), the company's research arm created in 1985, which studies the effect nutrition has on the body including dozens of studies investigating hydration among athletes.
But is all the emphasis on providing hydration through 'optimized' electrolyte blends more of a marketing spin designed to capture consumers when many times plain water and a banana can do the trick?
According to a 2009 review of studies looking into the hydration benefits of water vs. electrolyte sports drinks in the British Nutrition Foundation's Nutrition Bulletin, Dr Susan M. Shirreffs at the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences at Loughborough University in the UK concluded, "Generally, drinking plain water is better than drinking nothing, but drinking a properly formulated carbohydrate–electrolyte ‘sports’ drink can allow for even better exercise performance."
Gatorlyte will first be available at convenience stores nationwide in a strategic retail approach to capture its core audience of dedicated athletes, said Braff. Braff explained many of these consumers usually need to pick something up quickly while they're on their way to their next workout session or have just completed a sweaty gym session.
"This is a during or certainly after [workout] moment," said Braff.
Asked about the potentially limited audience of consumers who regularly complete grueling workout regimens, Braff noted that effective and rapid hydration is a fundamental need for any active consumer.
"That body physiology does not change if you are an elite athlete or someone trying to run a mile for the first time," said Braff.