PepsiCo Pulls Plug on Gatorade Naturals

Says beverage line extension "did not resonate with core consumer"

PepsiCo Gatorade Naturals

PURCHASE, N.Y. -- PepsiCo has discontinued a line of Gatorade it marketed as "natural," even as people increasingly look for foods and drinks that are positioned as such, reported the Associated Press.

The company said in a statement that through "engagement with athletes on their fueling needs, we found that Gatorade Naturals and G2 Naturals did not resonate with this core consumer."

On its website, the company said the drinks provided the benefits of regular Gatorade while using ingredients like sea salt. The line had limited distribution in select Whole Foods and Kroger locations.

Americans in recent years have shifted toward foods they feel are natural, with a growing number shunning processed foods that contain chemicals they don't recognize, said the report.

PepsiCo has also faced legal challenges over its use of the word "natural," the news agency said. Last year, it agreed to settle a lawsuit by removing "all natural" from its Naked juice drinks. A lawsuit had challenged the description, saying the drinks contained a synthetic fiber made by Archer Midland Daniels.

A lawsuit filed in California in 2012 also questioned the use of the word "natural" to describe some of Frito-Lay's chips. This past October, PepsiCo revamped its "Simply Natural" line to be called "Simply," without "Natural." A spokesperson said the change was part of its updated marketing.

A spokesperson for PepsiCo told AP that Gatorade Natural was not the subject of any litigation. He confirmed that the Gatorade Naturals were discontinued this past November.

The Gatorade Co., a division of PepsiCo Inc., provides sports performance innovations designed to meet the needs of athletes at all competitive levels and across a broad range of sports.

Purchase, N.Y.-based PepsiCo is a global food and beverage leader with net revenues of more than $65 billion and a product portfolio that includes 22 brands that generate more than $1 billion each in annual retail sales. Its main businesses are Quaker, Tropicana, Gatorade, Frito-Lay and Pepsi-Cola.