PepsiCo to Release ‘Organic Gatorade,’ But What Does that Mean?

PepsiCo to Release ‘Organic Gatorade,’ But What Does that Mean?

This might sound like an odd-sounded phrase: organic Gatorade. But it’s real, and it will soon be on store shelves.

The organic Gatorade, made by PepsiCo, was announced by company CEO Al Carey last Monday at Beverage Digest’s Future Smarts conference.

“It’s a consumer interest. I think they’re very interested in non-GMO and organic, and to the degree you can make it meaningful to the consumer – do it,” said Carey.

PepsiCo hasn’t said which ingredients it will replace in the sports drink, but Gatorade contains sucralose and artificial coloring (which causes its notably unnatural neon hue), along with some natural ingredients. [1]

Gatorade is the top-selling sports beverage in the country, commanding an estimated 77% of the U.S. sports drink market.

Carey compared the Gatorade announcement with PepsiCo’s recent announcement that the company’s Tropicana Pure Premium will soon bear the Non-GMO Project label. There are no GMO oranges on the market, however, so any orange juice may likely be GMO-free, naturally. [2]

We should point out, too, that PepsiCo spent millions of dollars fighting GMO labeling, so it is obvious that any moves to convert their products to GMO-free is likely due to consumer pressure.

“My impression is that they are seeking to attach an organic health halo to a product that contributes to obesity, diabetes and other chronic diseases in order to boost sales, “ said Jim Krieger, MD, MPH, executive director of the Institute for Healthy Food. “I doubt there are any health benefits to organic sugar, relative to conventional sugar, and even if there were, they’d be too small to counterbalance the negative health effects of the sugar itself.”

There are about 9 teaspoons of sugar in a 20 oz. bottle of Gatorade. It’s basically sugar water that provides little benefit unless you’re a marathon runner or you engage in high-intensity workouts.

Oh, and it’s really hard on your teeth.

PepsiCo got itself in hot water in 2014 for referring to water as the “enemy of academic performance” in a mobile game app. The claim triggered an investigation by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. The company agreed not to make disparaging remarks about water in any future apps or electronic games. [3]

According to the American College of Sports Medicine:

“During exercise lasting less than one hour, there is little evidence of physiological or physical performance differences between consuming a carbohydrate-electrolyte drink and plain water.” [4]


[1] Fox News

[2] Fortune

[3] Forbes

[4] Center for Science in the Public Interest

Image credit LATimes, (Associated Press)