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Aug282009

As The Energy Drink Category Booms To $10B, Health Advocates Seek Alternatives 

August 28, 2009: The energy drink category is big and getting bigger, with sales and new product launches that will see it jump from a $5.4 billion market in 2007 to an estimated $10 billion in 2010. However, according to research and marketing company Mintel, Chicago, which provided the category figures, the potential danger of energy drink ingredients such as caffeine and taurine being voiced by medical and consumer advocate groups also appear to be on the rise.

A new study from Mintel Global New Products Database indicates that between 2004 and 2009, new product launches in the energy drink category were up more than 110%. Mintel GNPD found caffeine in nearly all energy drinks produced, but taurine, the other popular, yet controversial energy-boosting ingredient, was found in 27% energy drinks in 2004, but has slightly reduced to 21% in 2008.

Mintel did not specifically name the brands, but among the best-selling products in the energy drink are Red Bull, AMP, Monster, Full Throttle, Rockstar and 5-Hour Energy. There's also Cruck, which made inroads on the Warped Tour, Verve and a recently-launched line from Xyience. The company's energy drink, Xenergy, and its energy shot, X Shot, are the official energy drink and energy shot of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, with such SKUs as Apple Jak'd, Cherry Rush, Xtreme Citrus Slam and Lemon Blast.

According to Mintel, 35% of U.S. teens consumer energy drinks, the largest demo of all consumers. Teenagers are also likely to drink energy drinks more frequently than adults: 5.3 drinks versus 4.6 drinks in a 30-day period. So there is a good reason why energy drinks are alligning with the UFC, the Warped Tour, extreme sports and other venues targeting teens.

“There is a significant market right now for drinks offering a boost of energy,” Lynn Dornblaser, Mintel global new products expert, said in a statement. “Although consumers say they try to eat and drink better, it appears that energy drinks is not a category in which that happens, as they continue to choose options that contain sugar, caffeine and taurine, all of which can have negative effects if consumed in excess.”

Mintel found that suppliers are producing some new energy drinks that boast more health-focused claims, but they are in the minority. Energy drinks showing a "low, no or reduced" calorie claim increased from 6% in 2004 to 11% in 2008. During that same time frame, energy drinks featuring a ‘low, no or reduced’ sugar claim have held steady at one in seven new launches. In addition, better-for-you energizers like vitamin B6 and guarana have remained flat appearing in approximately 22% and 12% of new product launches, respectively.

Mintel said that some new products could actually improve the category's image. One product cited by Mintel was launched In 2008 by Ocean Spray, Cranergy Energy Drinks, which are billed as “naturally energizing.” According to Mintel, this line of drinks contains real fruit juice blended with natural energizers including five B Vitamins, Vitamin C and green tea extract and are "clinically shown to improve alertness and make people feel less tired." Mintel also singled out the Cooper Tea company's Bazza High-Energy Tea, made from green tea and EGCG antioxidants, which calls itself the “smarter high-energy alternative.”

“These new, natural energy-enhancing products could threaten to steal share from their less healthy counterparts," said Dornblaser. "Often they are not sold in the energy drinks aisle, but in the juice or alternative beverage aisle, which may protect them from the unhealthy stigma some consumers associate with energy drinks.” Back to Home Page

Reader Comments (1)

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July 2, 2010 | Unregistered Commenteredrink

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