Gatorade Goes Organic

by Randy Lau

Gatorade- the energy drink that everyone in sports is familiar with- is going organic. PepsiCo Inc., the industry that produces Gatorade, said that the new drink line will be available at select markets this upcoming fall. The new ingredients included in this organic version are: water, organic cane sugar, citric acid, organic natural flavors, sea salt, sodium nitrate, and potassium chloride. This lineup, called G Organic, currently has flavors in lemon, strawberry, and mixed berry.


“As athletes continue to evolve, we’re committed to introducing new product innovations to meet their varying needs,” the corporation said on its website. Gatorade is highly known around the world as the epitome of sports beverages. Gatorade controls seventy percent of the sports drink market, according to Beverage Digest, and by adding an organic version, it hopes to increase profits with the growing demand for foods that are all natural, have no pesticides/additives, and have no artificial ingredients. Gatorade has already taken the first step in getting rid of harmful substances in their products. In 2013, the company stopped adding brominated vegetable oil, which was used to prevent the flavorings in the drink from dividing, due to a demand from an online petition by consumers. Studies suggested that the brominated oil caused some possible side effects in the drinker, such as neurological disorders (issues in the nervous system).


An email from Fortune was sent to a Gatorade representative to find out about the specific timing of the new lineup, the difference between its current drinks, and if the company was stressed with the making of the new formula for G Organic. It was to find out if G Organic would be any different from its counterpart in terms of ingredients and the processing. However, the Gatorade representative never responded back. Adam Fleck, a beverage analyst at Morningstar Inc., stated to Bloomberg News: “In as much as they focus on the potential to change ingredients without changing the taste, that’s sort of a win-win. But you have to be very careful about alienating your current customers in a bid to attract lapsed customers or new customers.” Gatorade’s senior vice president and general manager, Brett O’Brien, states that the corporation responded to consumer demands. “We heard pretty loud through locker rooms, through our work with nutritionists, that there is an interest and desire among athletes go organic,” he told Bloomberg News. Is this natural drink going to skyrocket?


Lindsey Moyer, a senior nutritionist with the Center for Science in the Public Interest, which urges a food system that is healthier and more nutritious, was skeptical about the changes in G Organic that are supposedly healthier. Gatorade’s G Organic discontinues using artificial food dyes found nearly in all their previous drinks, which is “a step forward,” Moyer said, adding, “G Organic is still a sugary drink - essentially, liquid candy - and organic sugar is no healthier than sugar.” Each 16.9-ounce bottle of G Organic has seven teaspoons of added sugar, which is more than the six-teaspoon daily limit recommended by the American Heart Association, she wrote via email. Is this drink even remotely healthier? Haemi Choi, a sports medicine doctor at Loyola University Medical Center, says, “It’s more natural. But I don’t think it’s healthier per-se. It’s pretty similar.” Choi states that G Organic has about the same amount of sugar as regular Gatorade - 20 grams per 12-ounce.


“Sugar is sugar, so no matter if it’s organic or not, it’s still going to have the same effect on your body,” says Lisa Clipperman, a clinical dietician and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Will you purchase G-Organic?