Pepsi Empties Gatorade Naturals Due to Lack of Healthy Demand

source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/41705600@N06/

Have you noticed anything different about PepsiCo’s (NYSE:PEP) line of Gatorade and G2 Naturals? Hint: It’s gone. Fox News reported last week that the world’s second largest soda company discontinued its line of Gatorade it marketed as “natural” in November after it found that the sports drinks weren’t selling as well as they should.

The poor sale of Gatorade Naturals surprised Pepsi, as more consumers have recently been paying closer attention to ingredient lists and shunning beverages with unrecognizable chemicals. However, the company confirmed to Fox News that it no longer sells the products and explained, “engagement with athletes on their fueling needs, we found that Gatorade Naturals and G2 Naturals did not resonate with this core consumer.”

The Purchase, New York-based company has been struggling to continue to appeal to consumers who are becoming increasingly health conscious — that’s why Gatorade Naturals were expected to be a hit among athletes who wanted their favorite beverage’s electrolytes but weren’t necessarily crazy about all the chemicals. On the company’s website, the drinks were advertised to have the benefits of regular Gatorade with added ingredients like sea salt, but Fox News says that Pepsi didn’t invest significantly in its marketing efforts, and it paid the price of its frugality.

The line had limited distribution in select Whole Foods (NASDAQ:WFM) and Kroger locations, and now all products have been de-shelved.

Pepsi’s Natural Gatorade line is now gone, but the company still tries to market several other products under the “natural” umbrella. Many of those, too, have provided challenges for Pepsi. Fox News reports that last year, the soda maker agreed to settle a lawsuit by removing the “all natural” label from its Naked juice drinks after it was challenged for the synthetic fiber found in the beverages. The lawsuits didn’t end there. A lawsuit filed in California in 2012 also disputed the use of the word “natural” in some of Frito-Lay’s chips — that’s why Pepsi’s “Simply Natural” chips are now only called “Simply.”

Pepsi’s Natural Gatorade is the only “natural” item to face discontinuation, but the company now leaves room for other competitors to make their mark in a segment that has grown significantly in popularity as of late. Both Coke (NYSE:KO) and Pepsi have struggled to continue appealing to consumers who no longer want sugar-laden soft drinks and instead want more natural calorie-friendly beverages.

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