PepsiCo Inc., the company that makes the Gatorade sports drink, heard things loud and clear and decided to take action to fix things. According to Yahoo, a spokeswoman for the company, Molly Carter, said Friday that the removal of brominated vegetable oil was in the works for the past year after the company began "hearing rumblings" from consumers about the ingredient. She said it wasn't a response to a recent petition on Change.org by a Mississippi teenager.
The petition on Change.org noted that brominated vegetable oil has been patented as a flame retardant and is banned in Japan and the European Union and had more than 200,000 supporters Friday. This is another example of how consumers have been able to get together online to bring attention to certain food ingredients and issues, just like when some people pointed out last week that Subway's footlong subs were less than a foot long.
The ingredient is not limited to Gatorade, as it is also used in various flavors of Powerade, which is made by rival Coca-Cola Co. The company did not say if they would remove the ingredient from Powerade as well, but said they would review the situation.
According to the report, the ingredient is used as an "emulsifier," meaning it distributes flavoring evenly so that it doesn't collect at the surface. Carter said that the ingredient was used in only some of the drinks, including orange and "citrus cooler." Other drinks that use brominated vegetable oil, or BVO, include Coca-Cola's Fanta and PepsiCo's Mountain Dew.
A spokesman for competitor Dr Pepper Snapple Group was not available to comment on whether the ingredient is used in any of its drinks. The ingredient is not banned by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and emphasized that no health concerns prompted the move.
According to Yahoo, "PepsiCo, based in Purchase, N.Y., is replacing the BVO in Gatorade with an ingredient called sucrose acetate isobutyrate, which Carter said will maintain the flavor and taste of the drinks. The company's decision to remove the ingredient was first reported by the trade journal Beverage Digest."
Gatorade is one of the most prominent sports/energy drinks in the world and the "Gatorade bath" is a move that many college football and professional teams use to signify a big win. Players will take a jog of Gatorade and dump it over their coaches head to celebrate.
The drink was first developed in 1965 by researchers at the University of Florida to give to football players to help with sweat and to replenish energy. The school's name is the Gators, hence the Gatorade name. The brand got bigger and bigger as the years went by and the Gatorade brand was purchased by the Quaker Oats Company in 1983, which itself was bought by PepsiCo in 2001.
According to Beverage Daily, Gatorade accounts for approximately 75 percent market share in the sports drink category