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Gatorade Goes Kosher, But Why?


Pepsi is catering to more than just Jewish athletes with its newly blessed sports drink.

The Gatorade Company, a division of PepsiCo (PEP), announced on Thursday that it's "strengthening its category-leading portfolio of sports performance beverages in 2010 by announcing the kosher certification of Gatorade Thirst Quencher and G2."

"Gatorade understands that different athletes have different needs, and providing sports performance beverages that adhere to kosher standards is important for us," said Andrea Fairchild, vice president of brand marketing for Gatorade. "We're proud to make these offerings available to help meet the needs of athletes who maintain kosher diets, so they can perform at their best."

It brings to mind an exchange in the 1980 comedy Airplane! when a flight attendant asks a passenger if she would like something to read.

The passenger says, "Do you have something light?"

The response: "How about this leaflet, 'Jewish Sports Legends'?"

There are a handful of Jewish professional athletes, like Kevin Youkilis of the Boston Red Sox, Omri Kasspi of the Sacramento Kings, Jordan Farmar of the Los Angeles Lakers (who is said to be the only NBA player to have been bar mitzvahed), and Mike Rosenthal of the Miami Dolphins, although no information exists as to whether any of them adhere to kosher dietary laws.

Other athletes, while not Jews, per se, do seem to have a warm spot in their hearts for the chosen people:

In an email message, Menachem Lubinsky, CEO of Lubicom, the marketing and consulting firm behind Kosherfest, the world's largest kosher food trade show, pegged the size of the kosher market at approximately $11.5 billion, with beverages comprising 10% of those sales.

Lubinsky believes Gatorade's kosher certification "should have a very positive impact on sales, as the younger kosher market is increasingly pursuing a healthier lifestyle, which includes exercise" and that it "will put PepsiCo on par with Coca-Cola's (KO) Powerade, which is used by many kosher consumers."
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