Foods

Hydration innovation on the rise – InfowayTechnologies


KANSAS CITY — With consumers continuing to emphasize the role of food and beverage choices in health and wellness, the hydration category has become a hotspot for innovation.

Increased demand for hydration solutions has helped expand the global electrolyte hydration drinks market to a $35.2 billion valuation in 2023, with a growth forecast of $58.97 billion by 2032, according to Precedence Research. Innovations like Gatorlyte from PepsiCo, Inc. have been able to capitalize on the growing consumer demand, garnering a place among Circana’s top 10 new product pacesetters of 2023. The company also debuted Gatorade Water, an electrolyte-infused alkaline water beverage, in March of this year.

“Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the holistic health benefits of being fully hydrated,” said Alex Beckett, global food and drink analyst at market researcher Mintel. “Demand for electrolyte drinks will be driven by more frequent heatwaves, the ageing population and also incidents of water toxicity — excessive consumption of water.”

Within the category, manufacturers are exploring a variety of formats and formulations to capture differing consumer needs and desires. Drink mixes have become a particularly popular format due to their convenience and sustainability benefits. For instance, Coca-Cola Co. brand BodyArmor developed its first hydration single-serve powder sticks with Flash I.V. Hydration Boosters.

“It seems like a lot more people are consuming electrolyte mixes,” said Matthew Peterson, co-founder and chief executive officer of Smootch. “They are more portable, easier to buy in bulk from the store … and personally I see a lot of people adding it as part of their morning routine. There are a lot of tailored solutions catering to all kinds of niches and use cases with the powders.”

Companies like GoHydrate have narrowed their focus on clean label hydration innovations, targeting consumers seeking healthier alternatives to sugary or salty mainstream products, said Michael F. Rosinus, co-founder and CEO of GoHydrate. The brand’s mixes feature a zero sugar, low sodium formulation with 40% of the recommended daily value of vitamin D per serving.

 “The drink mix format allows GoHydrate to create a specialized formula that we call Instant Hydration Technology,” Rosinus said. “When you mix GoHydrate in water, the solution is designed so that the electrolytes pass instantly into your blood stream, no digesting process needed.”

Vienna, Austria-based waterdrop developed a dissolvable cube format to serve as a sustainable source of convenient hydration in 2016. The company’s flagship product, Microdrink, was designed as a functional water flavoring mix, but waterdrop has since expanded into the electrolyte hydration space with Microlyte.

“We developed a first-of-its-kind dissolvable cube that transforms plain water into delicious, vitamin-enhanced drinks,” said Martin Donald Murray, founder and CEO of waterdrop. “Its portable format was intentionally designed for consumer ease — the cube does not require any stirring, fits in every bottle and dissolves perfectly on its own. This design is dually crucial to fulfilling our mission of creating more sustainable solutions to the ever-growing quantity of plastic bottles and cans used in the beverage industry.”

The company has launched a caffeinated version of its cube format in response to growing consumer interest in functional benefits and energizing infusions within the category.

“Trends emphasizing energy enhancement and rapid rehydration are significantly shaping the rehydration product landscape,” Murray said. “Consumers are increasingly seeking products that not only replenish fluids but also provide quick energy boosts and efficient rehydration, especially in today’s fast-paced lifestyle.”

Hydration beverage maker Smootch has merged an emphasis on sustainability with a unique ingredient formulation. The company created a line of hydration beverages that combines oat-based water produced using regenerative agriculture techniques with electrolytes and organic juices after diverting from its initial oat milk concept in 2019.

“We refer to our drink as an ‘active lifestyle drink’ in contrast to a strict sports drink,” Peterson said. “Regenerative oats for energy, sea salt and potassium in the proper ratio and amount, and flavored with fruit juices, it’s engineered for everyday performance with the highest quality ingredients.”


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