Sports drinks are defined as functional beverages which are intended to serve as water or an energy provider during physical exercise. They usually contain a mix of water and carbohydrates and are fortified with electrolytes. In some cases, vitamins and micronutrients are added. As it is important for athletes to stay hydrated during active training, sports drink manufacturers recommend drinking their beverages during or after a demanding work out in order to improve athletic performance and replenish electrolytes lost in sweat. The functional beverage is promoted as a smart alternative to water and claims to maximize endurance and build lean muscle during prolonged physical activity.
The market for sports beverages in the United States is highly concentrated. The leading sports drinks brands were manufactured by PepsiCo and The Coca-Cola Company. PepsiCo manufactures the well-known brand Gatorade and Coca-Cola produces PepsiCo’s biggest rival Powerade.
Recent developments show that the traditional sports drink category also competes with beverages such as bottled water, enhanced water, coconut water and even chocolate milk for the largest piece of the post workout/rehydration pie.