Analysts said the growth of Pepsicos Gatorade was "phenomenal" in 2015

Analysts said the growth of Pepsico's Gatorade was "phenomenal" in 2015

The head of Pepsico has said that the company will "keep the pedal to the metal on innovation" when it comes to driving the growth of its Gatorade brand in 2016. 

On a conference call following the announcement of its results for 2015, analysts described the growth of the Gatorade brand in the year as "phenomenal". The company's North American Beverages unit, which includes the Gatorade brand, saw full-year net sales rise 2% to US$20.6bn, while operating profits leapt 15% to $2.8bn in the period. 

Company CEO Indra Nooyi credited the Gatorade performance in the US last year to three factors. The first was the weather: "It was hotter for a longer period of time," she said. "Gatorade does well when the temperature is above normal." Second, Nooyi pointed to innovation. She said Fierce - the brand's 'bold & intense' range -  and Frost - 'light & crisp' - contributed "significantly" to sales growth. 

"All the new stuff that Gatorade is doing, with the smart bottle, with the pods that are tailored for the athlete, the Gatorade Prime and Recover, all of that is giving more legitimacy to the brand," she said. "I think that it's driving more of the Gatorade sales."

Lastly, Nooyi noted the role that buy-in from athletes had played in driving growth. "Many athletes are choosing Gatorade now... allowing Gatorade to far outdistance any emerging competitors," she said. The brand was subsequently able to outpace newer sports drink brands that concentrate their efforts on price.

"Going into 2016," Nooyi concluded, "I think we'll keep the pedal to the metal on innovation, on execution and hope that the weather holds up."

In December, reports suggested the company was preparing to launch an organic version of Gatorade.