Sports drinks are beverages containing a combination of water and electrolytes (usually sodium and potassium) that claim to replenish water and nutrients lost during exercise.
The first commercially released sports drink was Gatorade, in 1967, and it remains the largest player in the sports drink industry. Some other popular sports drinks include Vitamin Water and Powerade.
Sports drinks have been and are predicted to remain one of the fastest growing markets in the beverage industry. As sugary sodas bring in less and less money, sports drinks continue to grow as they are often perceived as a healthier choice, and their novel flavors often appeal to consumers looking for something different. While sports drinks are consumed by athletes, they also have a wider market appeal and are consumed by people across all demographics, regardless of physical activity level.
There have been some scientific studies on the benefits of electrolyte-infused sports drinks, but many of these studies have been questioned based on the relationship between researchers and large beverage manufacturers.
There is huge room for growth in the sports beverage industry for natural sports drink alternatives. With consumers today more focused on health than ever before, artificially flavored and sweetened sports drinks remain popular, but more beverage companies are looking to natural alternatives for flavoring and coloring their sports drinks.