Hydration is becoming a key tenet of everyday wellness, filling up both drink and supplement aisles.
The latest: CURE, maker of electrolyte drink mixes, closed a $5.6M Series A round to fuel national retail expansion into Albertsons, Kroger, H-E-B, and more.
The brand’s no-sugar-added mixes contain four times the electrolytes as traditional sports drinks and emulate a clinically backed formula the World Health Organization advises for rehydration, allowing its products to be purchased with employee HSA/FSA funds.
In the Mix
Growing 230% year-over-year since 2019, CURE’s success selling “functional hydration” mirrors the recent insatiable consumer thirst for clean, electrolyte-packed performance beverages.
And retailers are stocking up on both bottled and blend-in drinks.
- After raising $70M and growing DTC sales 400% YoY, Swiss electrolyte cube maker waterdrop recently signed a hybrid distribution deal with Walmart.
- Prime Hydration, a sports drink created by influencers Logan Paul and KSI, did $250M in sales in its first year and struck a deal to fuel youth sports nationwide.
- Fresh off a $36.8M funding round, electrolyte/antioxidant drink Lemon Perfect just announced nationwide retail distribution through Target.
Quantifying quench. As hydration becomes a key performance metric, reigning sports drink maker Gatorade worked with Epicore Biosystems on a hydration-sensing sweat patch, which integrates with a smart water bottle to monitor and recommend electrolytes.
Not alone, noninvasive fluid monitoring is entering the mainstream for everyone from construction workers to everyday athletes.
- Nix, a noninvasive skin patch evaluating fluid and electrolyte losses in real time, synced with Garmin to quantify hydration, with future integrations planned with Strava, Zwift, and more.
- London’s FLOWBIO is developing its hydration skin patch with elite cyclists, while hDrop’s strap-on sensor has a deal with USA Cycling.
- CGM-maker Abbott is exploring consumer wearables for hydration and lactate, and Apple’s “hydration-sensing watch” patent was filed back in mid-2021.
Takeaway: BioSteel, Liquid I.V., LMNT, Hydrant, Gainful — the number of entrants in the functional hydration category could go on and on. That means the battle for retail shelf space will become even more heated.