- Coca Cola said it will begin selling its BodyArmor beverage in major cities in Canada starting in January — marking the brand’s first international expansion outside the U.S. since it was founded in 2011. Both the sports drink’s original product as well as the low-calorie version, BodyArmor Lyte, will be avilable.
- Federico Muyshondt, BodyArmor’s CEO, said in a statement that international expansion has “been on our mind for quite a while.” He added that the move into Canada is “just the start of our expansion to new countries and consumers all around the globe.”
- BodyArmor is a $1 billion-plus hydration brand that has posted mixed results since Coca-Cola purchased the rest of the brand for $5.6 billion in 2021.
Coca-Cola’s portfolio has several brands, including Sprite, Diet Coke and its namesake beverage, that command a global presence. The beverage giant seems intent on trying to replicate that to some extent with BodyArmor.
Coca-Cola is likely to use the expansion to Canada as a testing ground before it enters other markets. The Atlanta-based company has amassed deep insight into other countries through its existing reach and knows firsthand what consumers are looking for. Coca-Cola also has an enviable global bottling system it could use to quickly bring BodyArmor to these markets.
It’s uncertain when or where Coca-Cola could decide to take BodyArmor next. Perhaps it could tap into markets where the company’s distribution is especially robust or its rival, PepsiCo’s Gatorade brand, is not as firmly entrenched.
Coca-Cola also could consider areas where healthier products or sports drinks are in high demand, a dynamic that could allow several products that are concentrated in the same category to exist simultaneously.
BodyArmor is wisely bringing its two most successful offerings that have built its reputation in the U.S. to Canada before deciding whether to dive into other products, such as its recently launched rapid hydration beverage. As it enters other countries, Coca-Cola also could decide to roll out flavors or product extensions that resonate with those local markets.
“We know the power of our brand,” Muyshondt said in a statement. “We changed the game when it came to sports drinks and know that there are many consumers that continue to drink outdated formulas because it’s all that’s available to them. We will be changing that.”
BodyArmor caught on with consumers as a healthy sports drink through its use of coconut water, low sodium and high potassium levels, the absence of artificial colors and including sugar in place of high fructose corn syrup. It’s a message Coca-Cola will want to continue to share with consumers in Canada and other markets, likely turning to top athletes in those regions to promote the brand as it has in the U.S.
The expansion comes as Coca-Cola has struggled to integrate BodyArmor, the largest acquisition in the company’s history.
“We had not had the greatest integration into the Coke system last year on BodyArmor and obviously there’s some new players and new category dynamics,” James Quincey, Coca-Cola’s CEO, told analysts in April.