Taking on the big brands: Canadian organic sports drink prepares for US launch

Canada's NorthStar is entering the US market with its organic sports drink. Pic: NorthStar

Vancouver-based NorthStar Organic is preparing to enter the US sports drink market this year, according to the company’s president, Shahab Samimi.

On top of that, NorthStar plans to solidify its sports beverage distribution agreements for Asia in the coming months and to launch a number of new products later this year, including organic sports drink in a ready-to-drink format, and single-serve sachets, Samimi told BeverageDaily.

Currently, the company has two flavored sports drink mixes in its portfolio: lemon, and peach and mango. Both flavors are distributed across Canada.

“Each 400g-crystal powder package makes 20 servings of 500ml, with a retail price of $24.99 CAD. A serving cost of $1.24; an affordable price for organic,” Samimi said.

Disruptive sports beverage

Since launching two years ago, NorthStar has been trying to disrupt the sports beverage industry with innovative and transparent ingredients, said Samimi.

“Founded by athletes for athletes, we use real functional whole food ingredients that consumers can understand and pronounce, without any colorants, or chemicals,” he said. “We look to be positioned as a leading crucible through disruptive change in a category that has been stagnant.”

NorthStar Organic is 100% vegan, gluten-free, and non-GMO.

“Our sports drink uses real coconut water electrolytes, plant based ingredients and pure organic sugar extracted from the agave plant,” Samimi added.

Competitive strategy

Samimi said big drink brands like Gatorade and Powerade are his company’s major competitors (Gatorade has announced a pending organic launch for 2016, with some analysts saying organic is now becoming mainstream).  

As for NorthStar’s strategy to make its business more competitive, Samimi said, “We use a grass roots approach, sponsoring local athletes and events and aligning ourselves with retailers and distributors who are innovative and unique in their own business.”

Business growth

Besides launching new products and expanding distribution channels, NorthStar also plans on expanding its creative team and workforce, according to Samimi.

“We have achieved successful market penetration and adoption in Canada at a rapid rate, with leading retailers, such as Whole Foods and Thrifty Foods.”

However, NorthStar’s key challenge is marketing and spreading the word that an organic sports drink exists, said Samimi. We look to overcome this by becoming the runner’s drink of choice and using our event marketing and athlete ambassadors to let the world know.”

In the future, Samimi said, sports drink market will move towards the removal of chemicals and colorants, and replacing them with cleaner and simple ingredients.

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