by Christopher Jones
How much science is in the average Tokyo gym? From high-tech exercise bikes and weights to cutting edge sneakers, watches, and even iPods, technology touches every aspect of the modern sporting world—and that’s a good thing. Athletics giant Adidas and soft drink leader Coca-Cola have jumped into the fray by collaborating on a revolutionary type of sports drink targeted at professional and amateur athletes.
Building on the success of Coca-Cola’s original Aquarius drink (which according to research conducted by Intage Inc. was Japan’s leading sports drink in terms of market share and sales volume in 2009), the new Aquarius Pro Recovery Shot marks the first time the two companies have joined forces. Jun Ishii of Coca-Cola Japan’s consumer marketing team commented, “We designed the drink after consulting the opinions of specialists and referencing literature on soy peptides and energy efficiency.”
Unlike some other products that are marketed as sports drinks yet provide no actual proven benefits, Aquarius Pro is no gimmick. Contained in each ‘shot’ are soy peptides, which are a combination of two or more amino acids obtained from the enzymatic decomposition of soy protein. They are attracting attention as a health-oriented food ingredient in sports, health care, and other fields were protein is required.
“We designed the drink after consulting the opinions of specialists and referencing literature on soy peptides and energy efficiency.”
But in addition to benefits that are proven on paper, the Aquarius Pro development team wanted to ensure that the product would be well-received by consumers. To that end, the team “also conducted home use tests among sports enthusiasts and other consumer research in order to improve the flavor and feeling of effectiveness,” said Ishii. The drink is scientifically developed, designed from the ground up to relieve fatigue and improve athletic performance. The Tokyo Marathon Expo in February served as the site of the official launch of the product. The event, which took place at Tokyo Big Sight, included a fully interactive exhibition, samples of the products, and a chance to talk with representatives of the two companies. Initial reactions by customers have been positive, opening the door for possible future cooperative projects. “Using Aquarius Pro as a touching off point, we plan to continue collaborating with Adidas in Japan over the long term,” said Ishii.