The Energy Enigma
By JENNIFER ZEGLER
Sales of energy drinks are slowing but new products
are not deterred
Recent sales figures show
the energy drink category may be beyond its
peak. Sales data from Information Resources Inc. (IRI), Chicago, show the
category’s rapid growth may be slowing. Figures from last year
boasted 54 percent increase in sales over 2005, while this year a lower 34
percent improvement was shown in food, drug and mass merchandise channels,
The minimal decline in sales for the Top 10 brands,
which include major players such as Red Bull, Monster, Rockstar and SoBe,
is not reflected in new product launches. A little more than 200 new energy
drinks were launched since July 2006, according Mintel’s Global New
Product Database. More than half of those were launched since November,
when Beverage Industry last reported on the category.
Yet, energy drink makers are not intimidated by the
vast range of products in the marketplace. Instead, manufacturers continue
to create new brands that speak to unique demographics as well as
individual consumers. Whether through brand name, formulation, flavor,
packaging or marketing, the mass of new beverages released this year have
included a personal appeal.
|Top 10 energy drinks
|% change vs.|
|% change vs.|
|SOBE NO FEAR||$34,619,990||23.6||4.7||-0.4%|
|SOBE ADRENALINE RUSH||$17,486,540||-17.1%||2.4||-1.5%|
|MONSTER ENERGY XXL||$8,594,313||200.6%||1.2||0.6%|
|Source: Information Resources Inc., Chicago, Total food, drug and mass merchandise outlets (excluding Wal-Mart) for the 52 weeks ending June 17, 2007.|
Consumers these days have a number of ways of showing
their allegiance to their favorite obsession, be it a sport, athlete or
celebrity. Cheering them on or seeing their work no longer will do, as fans
can now wear their clothes, smell like them and now drink like them.
Fans of action stars Steven Seagal and Jackie Chan can
channel the stars’ power through their respective branded energy
drinks. Basketball player Carmelo Anthony debuted his own C1.5 Extreme
Energy Drink in the Las Vegas market this year. Musician Jimi
Hendrix’s name and image are featured on the packaging of Voodoo Vibe
energy drink. Made by the Liquid Experience Group division of Beverage
Concepts LLC, Los Angeles, the drink is said to be “labeled with the
charge of peace, love and purpose.”
Los Angeles-based Socko Energy moved from last
year’s deal with former wrestler Hulk Hogan into a sponsorship with
World Wrestling Entertainment’s Raw events. The WWE Raw Attitude
beverage is available in Taurine and Slammin’ Citrus variations. It
is available nationwide as well as at WWE Raw events. The company also
featured its sponsorship of Arizona’s Tempe Music Festival, held in
March, on its cans.
This year, multiple companies tapped the NASCAR fan
base. Pepsi formed a deal with Jeff Gordon for a limited-edition beverage
called 24 High Octane. Restaurant chain Hooters also tied its energy drink
in with its NASCAR sponsorship. Initially launched in January with
packaging featuring its waitresses, the company redesigned the can with a
diamond plate aluminum pattern to tie in with its No. 7 Hooters Energy
Pennington Motorsports Chevy Silverado in March.
Also making the NASCAR connection is a rookie from DC
Brands International, Denver. Turn Left Energy Drink appeals to racecar
fans with its bright packaging featuring the racecars. On its Web site,
turnleftenergy.com, the brand offers racing headlines and video highlights.
Fans of another motorized spectator sport, reality TV
series “American Chopper,” can also fuel themselves with an
energy drink. The cable television show documents the custom motorcycle
shop run by the Teutul family in Montgomery, N.Y. Go Fast Sports &
Beverage Co., Denver, formed a partnership with
Orange County Choppers after it found out the company’s founder and
TV star, Paul Teutul Senior, was a fan.
“Paul Teutul Sr. started drinking Go Fast on his
own,” explains Troy Widgery, president of Go Fast Sports &
Beverage Co. “Then they built us a bike. They all drink Go Fast in
the shop, which they did before our partnership.”
An episode of the TLC series featured the process of
building and launching the Go Fast custom chopper motorcycle. The Orange
County Choppers Energy drink is available at Wal-Mart stores.
For fans of two-wheel bikes with less horsepower,
Bawls Gaurana recently partnered with American Bicycle Association and the
National Bicycle League for limited-edition four-packs of its energy drink.
The package offers consumers a complimentary race pass that gains them
access to one full day of BMX racing at participating tracks. Four-packs
from the Miami-based company will be available at Target stores.
Though many brands have a unisex appeal, some
companies are focusing on women with new energy drinks. These feminine
formulations often have pretty packaging, added vitamins and minerals and
“I started doing work in the beverage sector a
couple of years ago and I noticed women are undervalued and not represented
in the energy drink category,” says Brett Jacobson, chief executive
officer of Her energy drink, Hollywood, Calif. “Beverage companies
think their audience is mainly men and that women are a niche group. They
are 50.1 percent of the population and do 70 percent of the consumable
Inspired by his research, Jacobson created Her energy
drink, which launched last year. He developed the product with a Pink
Lemonade flavor and formulated it to provide sustained energy. The product
also appeals beyond female consumers, he says. “I don’t know
many parents who would give their kids Pimp Juice on the way to school in
the morning, but I know parents who give their kids Her.”
As for line extensions, the company is planning
Her Baby, which is formulated with nutritional content expectant and
nursing mothers need.
“It will be an energy drink without the
caffeine; we’re using a caffeine substitute,” Jacobson says.
“It will taste good and replace the Ensure that women reach for to
Known for its fruit and vegetables, Del Monte, San
Francisco, entered the energy drink category in May with Bloom Energy. With
a mission to “Spread good energy,” Bloom offers women a
fruit-based energy drink featuring 100 percent of Vitamin C, five B
vitamins, and is a good source of calcium and vitamin D. The product
focuses on busy women and moms in its marketing campaign. Bloom is
available in Wild Berry, Cran Raspberry and Mango Passionfruit flavors and
is caffeinated with antioxidant-rich white tea extract.
For women involved in extreme sports,
California’s Damzl Inc. created Damzl Fuel energy drink. Created by
off-road motorcycling sisters, Heather Birdwell and Holly Gorrell, Damzl
fuel comes in a not too girly pink package and is fortified with B
vitamins. The drink is available on the West Coast.
The new exotic
Exotic flavors hint at the potential influence from
other parts of the world. This year, Power Trip released a Mango flavor and
180 by Anheuser-Busch added Acaí and Goji flavors to its lineup.
This month, Coca-Cola’s Full Throttle added Mother, an Acaí
flavor to its popular lineup of 16-ounce drinks. The product has an
extended tagline of “nature is one bad mother.”
The popularity of flavors native to exotic locales is
just one hint to the popularity of ethnic products. Cintron Liquid Energy,
Philadelphia, uses ethnic-inspired flavors in its products. Its Energy
Enhancer line includes Tropical Azul, Pineapple Passion and regular and
sugar-free Citrus Mango flavors. The company also offers a Cintron line of
Green Tea beverages. Original and Diet flavors feature ginseng and honey,
which also appear in its Pomegrante, Mango and Guava Passionfruit
Launched in flavors such as Mandarin and Tamarind,
Potencia energy drink was created by a Latino company for Latino consumers.
The beverage launched this summer and is made by DLR Associates Inc.,
Mooreseville, N.C. Its bilingual packaging and ethnic flavors aim to appeal
to Latinos from all origins.
Another tropical superfruit, noni, has been leveraged
in an energy drink. Tahitian Noni International, Orem, Utah, used the fruit
and added guarana, B vitamins and amino acids for an exotic fruit boost in
Hiro energy. The product is available in 8.3-ounce cans.
Inspired by nature
As the natural category grows, many energy drink
makers have embraced the trend releasing natural formulations to appeal to
the concerned consumer. This year Kronik, BooKoo and Rockstar all
introduced juice and energy hybrids. The juicy introductions have attracted
consumers to the category, with Rockstar Juiced entering the No. 9 spot in
sales in convenience stores according to IRI data.
Ronin offers one serving of fruit and vegetables in
its regular and diet varieties. A 16-ounce serving also is fortified with
more than 23 vitamins and minerals, explains Jeff Nachreiner, sales and
marketing “warrior” for the Wisconsin-based company. Ronin LLC
plans to extend its lineup of “Positive Liquid Synergy” in the
coming year, he explains.
Both known for their pick-me-up qualities, coffee and
tea have become popular bases for new energy drink offerings. Monster
Beverage Co., a division of Hansen Natural, introduced its Java Monster in
June. The newest line extension from the No. 2 energy drink brand features
coffee flavors such as Big Black, Mean Bean and Loca Moca.
“Up to this point the choice of ready-to-drink
coffees has been small – literally,” said Geoff Bremmer, brand
manager for Monster Energy, in a statement. “Like a lot of people, I
enjoy coffee, but the current offering is a little soft and doesn’t
reflect the lifestyle of a number of coffee drinkers. That said,
we’re excited to introduce Java Monster – a big 15-ounce can of
coffee and cream, pumped-up with the aggressive attitude and functionality
of Monster Energy.”
Tea has been featured as a star ingredient in many
energy drink releases. G Pure Energy from Voss included green tea in its
newest Orange Blossom flavor as well as its initial G Pure Energy offering.
In December, popular tea brand Arizona released its Green Tea Energy Drink.
In addition to the regular formulation, the Lake Success, N.Y. company also
launched a diet and Lite Pomegranate variety.
Inko’s White Tea Energy promotes the
“jitter-free” benefits of its white tea base. The ginger and
lemon-flavored energy drink also creates a point of difference by being 100
percent natural. Inko’s hopes to tap into a new consumer base,
explains Andy Schamisso, founder of the Englewood, N.J.-based company.
“The Red Bull kids are growing up and joining
the health-conscious beverage consumer who is demanding natural,
lower-calorie products that don’t shock the system,” Schamisso
says. “Inko’s was ahead of the curve in the ready-to-drink
white tea segment and are, again, in at the beginning of this new
‘good for you’ energy category.”
A new demographic also is a focus for Steaz Energy.
Eric Schnell, co-founder of The Healthy Beverage Co., Newtown, Pa.,
explains its certified organic, Fair Trade and kosher green tea and yerba
maté-based energy drink extends its appeal. He explains the beverage
is popular with consumers who are concerned about eco-friendly products.
“We attract people who are traditionally not the
energy drink consumer,” Schnell explains.
Steaz Energy has found a home in natural foods stores
and on college campuses where “green” products are attracting
attention. Schnell also says the beverage is being home delivered to a few
eco-conscious celebrities. The company redistributes 10 percent of its
earnings back to charitable causes. New flavor extensions of Lime, Orange
and Diet Organic Berry will launch nationally through Whole Foods stores in
the coming months.
Early this summer, Texas’ Organic Beverage Co.
rolled out Syzmo. The Blue Agave flavored drink is certified USDA Organic
and is made with coffee fruit, guarana, green tea and yerba maté. It
also has a low glycemic index rating of 30. The drink launched in original
Blue Agave flavor, Passion and Prickly Pear.
The category continues to expand its appeal with new
products launched all the time. The competitive nature of the category does
not allow for much information on products in the pipeline. Yet a few
companies hint a something big in the works, such as Go Fast. Widgery says
the sports and beverage company has a “pretty revolutionary
product” that might create a new category in the works.
|Top 10 energy drinks sold in convenience stores
|% change vs.|
|SOBE NO FEAR||$139,460,400||8.6%||4.8|
|MONSTER ENERGY XXL||$137,947,000||93.6%||4.8|
|SOBE ADRENALINE RUSH||$85,114,110||15.4%||2.9|
|Source: Information Resources Inc., Chicago, Total convenience store sales for the 52 weeks ending June 17, 2007.|
More than just energy
As the category has grown,
brands have entered the fold that promise benefits beyond an energy
boost. Here’s a sample of brands with added functionality:
• Enhanced brain focus and memory retention. The
possibly properly named Nerd promises better mental function in its energy
drink. Its special blend was created by a team consisting of a medical
student, engineering student and entrepreneur from San Antonio, Texas.
• Stimulation. Billed as the “Ultimate Pleasure
Beverage” by Fever Beverage USA, Philadelphia, the
beverage’s blend of herbs includes horny goat weed and panax ginseng
and provides veiled benefits to either gender.
• Rehabilitation. Rehab Recovery Supplement offers its
berry-flavored formula to assist consumers in refreshing, recovering and
reviving. The product, made by Englewood, N.J.’s Rehab Beverage LLC,
contains green tea, coenzyme Q10 and 300 percent of daily vitamin B6.
• Anti-energy. In a contradiction to the category,
Malava introduced Relax, which contains the southern pacific herbal root
kava. The California company offers a line of juice blends in Orange Mango,
Pink Lemonade and decaffeinated Black Tea, all with calming effects.