The Food Institute: Rapid Rehydration Functional Drinks

June 28, 2023

Functional rehydration for athletes—and those that want to feel like athletes

Running Point and its chief investment officer, Michael Ashley Schulman, CFA, were quoted by The Food Institute in an article — by Kelly Beaton, “Rapid Rehydration Is Reshaping the Functional Drink Category” — regarding the innovative and crowded beverage brand category of rapid rehydration which is the latest trend in the sports drinks market and also trending on TikTok with hastag #WaterTok.

“The category’s growth goes hand-in-hand with the expansion of the fitness market, as well as the booming growth of the functional beverage market, as brands attempt to carve out their niches and fiefdoms in this global battle royale.”

Seek innovation

In the future, beyond the normal trifecta of hydration recovery additives sodium, potassium, and magnesium, look for the addition of body, mind, and muscle enhancing ingredients such as beets, tart cherry, caffeine, B vitamins, nootropics, sea minerals, CoQ10, BCAAs, Acetyl L-carnitine, L-citrulline, and L-theanine.

Rapid rehydration beverages are blurring the distinctions between health drinks and athletic sports drinks. The category has room to nearly triple sales by decade’s end, especially if global warming and frequent heatwaves continue. But also expect category distinction to get muddled with other alternative functional claims such as energy, mental acuity, calm, or immune support.

Rapid rehydration in an active post-pandemic world

Rapid rehydration as a trend in the sports drinks market may have resurfaced as the world emerged from COVID in mid-2021 when PepsiCo’s Gatorade launched its low sugar Gatorlyte with no artificial sweeteners or flavors, designed to quickly replace lost fluids and electrolytes and help reduce muscle soreness in athletes and those who want to feel like athletes.

The field has also recently been reinvigorated by the hashtag #WaterTok trend on TikTok as well as the proliferation of indoor high-intensity spin, exercise, and fitness boot-camp programs.

Hydration drinks and multipliers

Coca-Cola’s new BodyArmor Flash I.V. drink enhanced with vitamins and minerals and without artificial flavors, sweeteners, or dyes will step up category marketing and competition. Other large category players are Electrolit, Abbott’s Pedialyte Sport released July 2021 (which is fascinating because Pedialyte was once considered mostly a hangover and diarrheal remedy), and Vita Coco Co’s protein infused PWR LIFT.

Additionally, a wide variety of hydration multipliers, powdered hydration drink mixes, are in market from the likes of Skratch Labs, Nuun, LMNT, Liquid I.V., Tailwind, and DripDrop.

Get noticed—stir in influencers

Large brands have the financial resources to engage high-level “mega” influencers, whereas emerging brands, unless supported by a famous figure, often rely on factors such as novelty, taste, culture, grassroots enthusiasm and cost-effective micro-influencers.

Quoted article excerpt is below:

Michael Ashely Schulman, chief investment officer at Running Point Capital Advisors, had a similar sentiment, noting: “The category’s growth goes hand-in-hand with the expansion of the fitness market, as well as the booming growth of the functional beverage market, as brands attempt to carve out their niches and fiefdoms in this global battle royale.”

Functional Rehydration — Graphic design and photography by

Sweat, sweat
Let the music take control
Let the rhythm move you
Everybody dance now

C+C Music Factory from “Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)

Disclosure: The opinions expressed are those of Running Point Capital Advisors, LLC (Running Point) and are subject to change without notice. The opinions referenced are as of the date of publication, may be modified due to changes in the market or economic conditions, and may not necessarily come to pass. Past performance is not indicative of future results. Forward-looking statements cannot be guaranteed. Running Point is an investment adviser registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Registration does not imply a certain level of skill or training. More information about Running Point’s investment advisory services and fees can be found in its Form ADV Part 2, which is available upon request. RP-23-59