I’ll admit that I had never heard of Pocari Sweat until today, but perhaps eagle-eyed fans of the Back to the Future films may have.
In the second of the three films, in the scene pictured above where future Marty McFly holds a video conference call, there is a sneaky product placement.
At the time, Pocari Sweat was a popular sports drink in Asia and parts of the Middle East, but it would take a good 30 years for that popularity to spread around the world.
CNN with more on the “meteoric rise of Asia’s answer to Gatorade”:
Last year, 270 million bottles were distributed across more than 20 countries and regions. Around the same number were distributed in Japan, according to Otsuka Pharmaceutical, the Japanese company that makes it. Amid the pandemic, the company donated more than 1.2 million bottles to hospitals and governments across its markets.
Launched in 1980, Pocari Sweat was inspired by the rehydrating effects of an IV solution. The ingredients include water, sugar, citric acid, magnesium, calcium and sodium…
The beverage is to many Asians what Gatorade is to Americans, and Lucozade is to the British.
I guess that’s our Energade or Powerade, then.
The name might not be overly appealing, but it is functional:
…a team of researchers had discovered that the concentration of sweat was different for people doing sport compared to those just going about their day. They wanted a drink — with properties similar to sweat — that could hydrate people whatever they were doing.
Researchers developed dozens of prototypes, but they all tasted too bitter. The breakthrough came when they added a dash of citrus powder juice to their translucent solution, eventually refining the formula to two samples with differing sugar levels.
The formula for Pocari Sweat was born. All they needed was a name and a logo.
‘Pocari’ doesn’t mean anything, but was chosen because it sounds like it could be European, and is relatively easy to pronounce.
I think the use of ‘sweat’ speaks for itself.
As the years have ticked by, so too has the brand undergone many transformations:
In recent years, the popularity of the drink has exploded, and it’s now gaining market share in countries far beyond what was expected all those years back.
For more on the Pocari Sweat story, head here.
If you’re the type who likes to try new sports drinks, we found Pocari Sweat for sale here, with a 580ml bottle costing R35, and this product description:
POCARI SWEAT is a health drink that contains a balance of ions (electrolytes) that resembles the natural fluid balance in the human body. Quickly and easily replenishes the water and ions that your body needs, and quenches every part of you.
We have no dog in this fight – try it, don’t try it, whatever.
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