Food & Beverage

A third of Pedialyte's sales now comes from adults

Hangover cure? Pedialyte to the rescue
Hangover cure? Pedialyte to the rescue

Pedialyte consumption has been on a tear recently, and it's not just because of thirsty toddlers anymore. The drink once reserved for young kids has made new inroads with hungover adults.

According to data from marketing research firm Nielsen, a third of Pedialyte's sales now come from adults, up nearly 60 percent since 2012. The brand itself, owned by Abbott Laboratories, is embracing the new wave of appreciation, even committing ad campaigns to the new demographic. The brand would love to displace Gatorade and other drinks such as Vita CoCo as the go-to hangover cure.

Still, Pedialyte has a long way to go before that's a possibility because of the way it's distributed, says Bill Schmitz, a managing director at Deutsche Bank. "It would be pretty tough to find Pedialyte in the 7-Eleven," he told CNBC's "Closing Bell." "The Pedialyte demographic is the mom or dad looking for something handy in the medicine cabinet."

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Pedialyte isn't letting that stop them. With its new consumer base in mind, the brand is rolling out new powder pack formats this month, as well as working on flavors such as orange and strawberry-lemonade that might interest a younger customer. Its marketing focus has also shifted to handing out free samples at sporting events and music festivals.

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Pedialyte still has a lot of room to run before it comes close to the sport drink behemoths in the category, which are about 10 times its size, but it would need to grow into a new demographic without alienating its core crowd.