Coca-Cola’s BodyArmor enters rapid hydration with first major product launch in 2 years

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Dive Brief:

  • BodyArmor is the entering rapid rehydration beverage category with BodyArmor Flash I.V., the brand’s first major product offering in two years. The last major launch was BodyArmor Edge, its sports drink with caffeine, in February of 2021.
  • The Coca-Cola-owned brand is formulated to create the “perfect balance of carbohydrates and electrolytes for faster absorption and replenishment,” the company said. It has added functionality with Zinc, vitamins B and C to support a healthy immune system, and no artificial flavors, sweeteners, or dyes.
  • The product expands the reach for the $1 billion-plus hydration brand that has posted mixed results since Coca-Cola purchased the rest of it for $5.6 billion in 2021.

Dive Insight:

As Coca-Cola aims to recover from the recent stumbles that have plagued BodyArmor, rapid hydration could be a promising option.

BodyArmor caught on with consumers as a healthy sports drink through its use of coconut water, low sodium and high potassium levels, the absence of artificial colors and including sugar in place of high fructose corn syrup.

BodyArmor sales jumped from $250 million in 2018 to more than $1 billion three years later. It’s a big reason why Coca-Cola announced in late 2021 it would purchase the remaining 85% of the brand it didn’t already own.

But since the deal closed, Coca-Cola has struggled to integrate BodyArmor, the largest acquisition in the company’s history.

“We had not had the greatest integration into the Coke system last year on BodyArmor and obviously there’s some new players and new category dynamics,” James Quincey, Coca-Cola’s CEO, told analysts in April. “We’re very focused on stabilizing our portfolio and growing from here.” 

But BodyArmor will hardly be the first player in the rapid hydration market, a fact that the brand’s CEO acknowledged. Already, the category has a presence from brands such as Electrolit; PepsiCo’s Gatorlyte, an extension of its dominant Gatorade brand; and Abbott’s Pedialyte Sport, as well as offerings from smaller upstarts.

“We may not be the first product in this rapidly growing space, but we plan to be the best – and that

ultimately starts with taste,” said Federico Muyshondt, BodyArmor’s CEO. “We’re confidently entering this category because we know that Flash I.V. tastes better than any other rapid hydration product out on the market today.”

It’s a bold proclamation and a major gamble that more consumers will not only be willing to switch to BodyArmor Flash I.V. despite trying one of the other established brands already on the market, but that when they do, they will agree that it does taste better. BodyArmor also could hope its ingredient mix and claim that it has more electrolytes than the competition will prove useful in attracting consumers. 

What’s notable about the launch is that instead of rolling out BodyArmor Flash I.V. nationwide, Coca-Cola is first launching it in retail stores regionally. It will be available in stores nationwide and online via Amazon nationally in 2024. During that time, the product will appear in social media, retail activations and sampling events in local markets across the U.S., presumably to drum up attention online ahead of a wider U.S. debut.   



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