COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- If you've found certain flavors of the popular sports drink Gatorade to be in short supply or unavailable at stores, you can blame the COVID-19 pandemic, among other factors.
KRDO NewsChannel 13 has confirmed through several sources that higher demand and apparent supply chain issues have caused the shortage.
According to Beverage Digest, an Atlanta-based newsletter that tracks the beverage industry, several factors are behind the shortage: a particularly hot summer for much of the country, an increase in consumption tied to COVID patients, COVID outbreaks or quarantines among Gatorade production workers, and a tight supply chain that hasn't adjusted to market swings.
The newsletter also mentions that according to some bottlers of Pepsi -- Gatorade's parent company -- Pepsi has depended too much on private suppliers who pack and deliver Gatorade to stores, and those "co-packers" are also dealing with COVID-related issues.
Another belief is that Pepsi has reduced production of Gatorade flavors that don't sell well and is focusing more on basic flavors such as lemon-lime and fruit punch.
The situation primarily affects 32-ounce bottles of the product, in convenience stores as well as multiple bottle packages in stores.
However, the good news, according to the newsletter, is that the shortage hasn't increased prices so far -- although some store managers said they've been forced to offer fewer discounts.
A Gatorade spokesperson -- without providing details -- recently admitted to increased demand because of supply chain issues, the hot summer and COVID but said, "We are working aggressively to meet customer demand and get all cases out the door."
Beverage Digest wrote that the situation is affecting competitor Powerade and other sports drinks to a lesser extent.
"But Gatorade is really feeling the pinch because it has 70% of the market," said Duane Stanford, the newsletter's editor and publisher. "It's unclear how long this situation will last."
Nandhip Kumar, owner of the Veterans Convenience Store near downtown Colorado Springs, is one of the few stores that has a plentiful quantity and variety of the drink.
"That's because I always have three weeks worth of back stock," he said. "If I didn't, my shelves would be a lot emptier. I can only order half of what I used to. I have to charge full price with no discounts to guarantee I'll have enough for my customers."
The Acorn convenience store at 8th and Cimarron streets has an adequate supply and selection of Gatorade, but also has several empty racks and a five-shelf floor display containing only a few bottles.