Coke Edges into Recovery-Drink Market


Under industry-wide assault for selling sugar water, Coca-Cola is looking even harder at new types of alternative “better-for-you” beverage categories. That’s why it has agreed to distribute a dairy-based “sports recovery” beverage called Core Power.

The “natural high-protein milkshake” by Fair Oaks Farms Brands is endorsed by triathletes and is part of an exploding category of beverages that are said to boost performance during workouts and muscle recovery afterward. The players range from startups such as Core Power, to chocolate milks that have been enhanced, to new products in PepsiCo’s Gatorade lineup that were specifically developed for post-workout recovery.

In a world teeming with ever more obese people, and aging populations in many of the most important geographic markets, does it really make sense to think that there will be enough dedicated athletes and workout warriors to slake up this proliferation of new beverages, including Core Power?[more]

Well, the environment for growth for such beverages is still better than for the carbonated soft drinks that remain the “core” of Coke’s offerings. The company has diversified mightily into a huge variety of non-carbonated drinks over the last several years, picking up Glaceau’s Vitaminwater brand for $4 billion, for instance, and the Odwalla premium-juice brand.

But Core Power is part of a category “that is still in the early stage of its growth potential,” Deryck van Rensburg, president of Coca-Cola North America, said in a statement. He viewed the tie-up as another example of how the Coca-Cola system can participate in the development of “the next generation of beverage brands.”

Core Power is a shake-type dairy drink that, like some other players in this emerging category, removes the lactose from the milk. It’s built around 26g per 11.5 oz. of concentrated whey and casein proteins, much like Muscle Milk and other recovery beverages.

But with Coke’s drivers slinging the product all over the place now, Core Power will be stocked in about 10,000 grocery, convenience and specialty stores across the U.S. How’s that for a post-recovery boost?