consumer packaged goods

BodyArmor Zero Sugar Promises To Be Category's Clean-Ingredient Hero


Coca-Cola is doubling down on its two-pronged approach to the sports drink category, launching BodyArmor Zero Sugar, which expands both the BodyArmor brand and, according to the company, the possibilities of the category.

In addition to containing zero grams of sugar and carbohydrates, the drink is also free of any artificial sweeteners, colors, dyes, or flavors, making it a “truly unique to the world proposition," Sabrina Niland, BodyArmour vice president innovation and strategy, told Marketing Daily.

Niland explained that the new product offering was rooted in consumer insights: the rise in the number of consumers shying away from sugar, which she described as “the number one ingredient people are looking to avoid in their diet, particularly with sports drinks.”

At the same time, people are increasingly avoiding artificial ingredients, particularly in the form of colors or dyes, making the product’s promise to deliver “real hydration,” without such additives, something the brand considers a powerful differentiator.



Launching in four flavors -- fruit punch, lemon lime, orange, and cherry lime -- BodyArmor Zero is sweetened with stevia, a sweetener derived from the stevia rebaudiana plant. It will be available nationally at retail and online outlets including Amazon, Walmart, and other major retailers.

To support the launch, the brand is investing in a dedicated marketing campaign including  social media, OOH, retail activations, and sampling events in local markets across the U.S. throughout 2024.

The campaign will build on BodyArmor’s “Nothing Is More Real” work, introduced last fall, which Niland called the brand’s “trademark campaign,” with what she described as a “fun campaign in the next couple of months” that “will focus on real hydration and that we have nothing to hide.”

Niland, who took on her current role under the brand’s newly created department devoted to new product development last year, said that innovation is core to the brand. She cited an “unprecedented amount of innovation” over the last six months or so in particular, which has seen BodyArmor introduce a number of new products – including its Flash I.V. rapid rehydration drinks and powders.

While PepsiCo-owned Gatorade remains the sports drink category leader by some margin, The Coca-Cola Company has been working to close the gap. BodyArmor, which the company paid some $5.6 billion to acquire in late 2021, has been a source of strength in that effort, overtaking fellow Coca-Cola brand Powerade to become number-two in the category in U.S. sales for 2023, according to Statista. In addition to the Zero Sugar launch, the brand is expanding internationally in 2024, entering new markets in Canada and Mexico.

According to Niland, the company views the two brands as complementary.

“Our two-pronged approach with BodyArmor and Powerade is ultimately what will help us get to number one in sports drinks,” Niland told Marketing Daily, describing the brands as “two distinct offerings [with] two distinct audiences.”

The company will “continue to position Powerade as that mainstream sports drink with more electrolytes and added vitamins,” she explained, while “BodyArmor will continue to leverage a strategy that has worked in the past: a premium national product rooted in sports with the ability to extend into health, wellness, and fitness.”


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