Water is getting a makeover. More and more consumers are turning away from high-sugar and artificially flavored drinks and reaching for cleaner hydration options.
Leading the charge, Liquid I.V. has transformed the category with its clean ingredients, growing to $100M in revenue in just five years. (Of note, Gatorade saw sales drop nearly 10% since 2015.) Last year, Liquid I.V. was acquired by Unilever.
With the hydration market expected to top $1.8B globally, upstarts are hoping to cash in:
- Hydrant raised a $8.5M Series A to sell its hydration packets.
- Cure Hydration landed $2.6M for plant-based electrolyte powders.
- beam entered the hydration space after its $5M Series A in February.
- Gainful, makers of protein powders and hydration products, raised $7.5M in January.
Hangover hack. Hydration companies have found an unexpected following from regretful revelers. With a billion dollars up for grabs, even Barstool is joining in, while toddler-drink maker Pedialyte has embraced its newfound label as a hangover cure.
With all this buzz, do hydration sticks and tablets actually work better than plain old H2O?
Experts say yes — hydration goes beyond drinking water, and electrolytes (sodium, potassium, and magnesium) in these products help your body absorb greater amounts of water at a faster rate while helping regulate crucial body functions.
Next up, a new wave of wearables. Gatorade launched its Gx Sweat Patch earlier this year. Researchers at Tufts and Northwestern have developed postage-sized sweat sensors that can track your hydration levels. And switching it up, sweat itself may power your next wearable.