Initially piggybacking off of energy drinks, beverage experts are now defining recovery drinks to merit their own category (BevNet article here). BevWire also previously reported on Lush Recovery Drink (recently rebranded to Amara Recovery Beverage). As recovery drinks are still in its infancy along the beverage product life cycle, how can this category grow? Who are the major players and what is being done to bring news/attention to the category?
The more well-known major players are energy drink manufacturers that each have their own line of recovery beverages such as Monster Rehab and Rockstar Recovery. However, as Monster and Rockstar are companies that have built their name associated with “energy”, Rehab and Recovery may find it hard to grow within the companie’s beverage portfolios. Despite their organization’s international distribution network, marketing budgets are devoted to the energy drinks since there’s more competition and the larger energy drink brand’s awareness needs to be maintained.
Given these circumstances, there are high reward opportunities for lesser known manufacturers to drive awareness to their recovery drinks. Amara builds awareness through event sampling where the consumer can firsthand understand and experience the functions of the recovery beverage. Also interesting about Amara is that their rebranding effort also included coating their aluminum cans with flourescent material so the packaging will glow when it’s on the shelf and in coolers. BevNet’s article describes GTOX as another recovery drink manufacturer that is driving awareness for their product with Dennis Rodman as a spokesperson. Code Blue is another manufacturer that is trying to re-position itself as more than just a hangover recovery beverage by targetting exercise recovery and hydration. Although not all these beverages have national distribution, each of them are driving news and awareness to this category.
The theory is that companies that bring awareness to the category bring awareness to the product, and consumers are likely to reward these companies with their business. It happened with Coca-Cola and Pepsi with carbonated soft drinks, it also happened with Red Bull, Monster and Rockstar with energy drinks. Consumers also rewarded vitaminwater with their business for growing the enhanced water category. The market leader for each of these respective beverage categories are typically those that started off bringing attention to the category.
On the original question on how big can this emerging category get, one needs to look at the path of the coconut water category. The major players that drove category awareness – O.N.E. Zico, and Vita Coco – either purchased or signed partnership agreements with PepsiCo, Coca-Cola Refreshments and Dr Pepper Snapple Group in the past two years. The beverage conglomerates recognized the potential of coconut water and quickly brought on experts in the business. Even AriZona has gotten into the game (link here). That said, it is still not time to put a dollar figure on the category worth of recovery drinks, but it certainly draws parallelisms to coconut water. There are only a few main players for now, but all the potential lies with names that are not nationally known.
The next time you go into your grocery store or convenience store, look for where they stock the Monster Rehab and Rockstar Recovery, and keep an eye out for other recovery drinks.