Gatorade debuts its first-ever caffeinated energy drink Fast Twitch

Dive Brief:

  • PepsiCo’s Gatorade is entering the energy drink category with its first caffeinated beverage called Fast Twitch, the company said in a statement. Each 12-ounce bottle contains 200 milligrams of caffeine, electrolytes and B vitamins.
  • The beverage, which was developed along with the NFL and sports performance experts, contains no sugar or carbonation and comes in some of the same flavors as Gatorade. Fast Twitch will start appearing on the sidelines of NFL games in the coming weeks and hit store shelves starting in February.
  • The new drink is the latest in a series of product announcements where beverage companies take existing brands and extend their reach into other fast-growing categories.

Dive Insight:

PepsiCo’s Gatorade has become a juggernaut brand with annual sales topping $6 billion and control of more than 70% of the sports drink market by focusing on hydration. But with competitors like Coca-Cola’s BodyArmor surging in popularity, the market staple is looking for new avenues of growth and differentiation. 

For PepsiCo, Fast Twitch not only allows the snack and beverage company to double down on the popular energy drink space but also participate in more parts of an individual’s workout.

Caffeine is a natural diuretic that removes salt and water from the body. While Fast Twitch has caffeine to boost energy, it is designed to be consumed before drinking a hydrating beverage during a workout, PepsiCo told CNBC.

An athlete could drink Fast Twitch before exercising, then consume a traditional Gatorade or one of its many extensions like Gatorade Fit, which has no added sugar, artificial flavors or sweeteners, or added colors; G Zero with Protein; and Gatorlyte, a beverage said to have more electrolytes and less sugar than its traditional sports drinks.

Unlike other pre-workout drinks loaded with sugar that many consumers are avoiding, Fast Twitch omits the sweetener. It also bypasses the use of carbonation and artificial ingredients that have deterred many consumers from trying energy drinks in the past.

“We’ve spent decades studying the best athletes in the world, and what we’ve learned is there hasn’t been an athletic energy solution they can trust that is designed for them to start fast and ignite their performance,” Anuj Bhasin, vice president of marketing and general manager for Gatorade Brands, said in a statement.

PepsiCo has moved aggressively to establish a commanding presence in energy drinks. Since early 2020, it acquired Rockstar Energy for $3.85 billion and introduced a line of energy drinks called Mtn Dew Rise Energy targeted at morning consumers.

More recently, PepsiCo invested $550 million for an 8.5% stake in energy drink maker Celsius Holdings — a likely competitor to Fast Twitch. PepsiCo also had a distribution deal with Bang, a drink that targets preworkouts and recoveries, but the deal quickly turned contentious and the two sides have since parted ways.

Beverage companies increasingly have been moving into other categories in the space that would have been unheard of just a few years ago. Fast Twitch is the latest example of that blurring.

Similar to its archrival Coca-Cola, PepsiCo has made inroads into alcohol with Boston Beer through the launch of Hard Mtn Dew. Energy drink company Monster Beverage also plans to launch its first flavored malt beverage alcohol product late this year. And The Vita Coco Company is working with Diageo on a line of premium canned cocktails crafted with Captain Morgan rum and Vita Coco coconut water.