Sports drinks are an important beverage segment in the convenience store cooler case.
You’ll often hear sports drinks referred to as ‘isotonic beverages.’ Isotonic beverages are technically a type of sports drink. Isotonic beverages help to rapidly replace fluids in the body that are lost through sweating, while also providing energy via carbohydrates. The drinks have similar concentrations of sugar and salt as we do in our bodies, which helps our bodies rebalance.
Most traditional sports drinks that you’ll find in a convenience store cooler case, such as brands like Gatorade and Powerade, are isotonic. But hypertonic (higher concentration) and hypotonic (lower concentration) beverages exist as well.
Today, sports drinks are a growing segment in the convenience store cold vault, and it’s not just athletes reaching for the beverages, but also any customer looking to replenish water and electrolytes, or those who simply enjoy the flavor of the beverages.
As customers increasingly look to functional beverages, sports drinks are in a prime position to capitalize on this growing demand for increased functionality. Isotonic beverages are upping their innovation game, touting added vitamins, electrolytes, added caffeine and more to appeal to customers. Some feature a healthy profile to specifically attract health-conscious customers, which comprise a growing segment of shoppers. One of the biggest areas of innovation in the segment in recent years has been in flavor development. Today, customers can select from a wide range of flavor profiles among sports drink lines.
Sports drinks sales at convenience stores were noted to be on the rise in 2020 as customers continued to seek beverages perceived as better for you and flavorful drinks as well as alternatives to sugary sodas. As beverage channel blurring continues, manufacturers are pushing the boundaries of what’s considered a sports drink today. This ongoing innovation across beverage segments is giving many manufacturers a chance to get more creative with offerings and ingredients in the sports drink category. All this innovation gives c-store retailers more considerations and options as they select isotonic beverage assortments for their cooler doors.