B vitamins and green tea extract are driving new product development in energy drinks even more than an avoidance of ingredients with negative connotations such as high fructose corn syrup, according to market researcher Mintel.
“We are seeing more companies offering energy drinks with a more positive spin,” said Lynn Dornblaser, Mintel global new products expert. She said “products with more B vitamins and green tea extract that provide a natural energy boost” were among the most popular. “You see B vitamins in so many energy drinks,” she added.
Other big trends in the energy beverage market included hydration, coffee and juice hybrids and functional benefits such as alertness, muscle repair and even aphrodisiac effects, according to Mintel.
Such trends represented a return to traditional mineral and vitamin fortification, said Dornblaser, as well a hankering for ‘all natural’ ingredients.
“Across all food and beverages you are seeing a move to more natural or organic ingredients,” she said. However she acknowledged there was considerable confusion among consumers about what natural and artificial meant and that some ingredients were demonised without sufficient justification – one example being high fructose corn syrup.
“There isn’t anything wrong with high fructose corn syrup – it’s about levels of consumption,” said Dornblaser. “But I think the consumer is beginning to understand that high fructose corn syrup is inexpensive and can help produce enough food for people who need food.”
New product growth and trends
Her comments came in the wake of the release of statistics from Mintel’s Global New Products Database (GNPD) showing the number of energy drinks containing taurine fell from 27 percent in 2004 to 21 percent in 2008. That was despite new energy drink product launches increasing by 110 percent over the four-year period.
However, Mintel forecast slower NPD growth in energy drinks of 70 percent from 2009-2014, to reach $7.9bn globally. Mintel said the research indicated that the latest energy drink launches weren’t getting any healthier, although energy drink sales had increased by 241 percent from 2004-2009 to $4.6bn.
Of all the energy drink formats, energy shots looked set to show the most growth in 2009, said Mintel. In fact, it said there was already evidence that the success of energy shots was cannibalising sales from mainstream energy drinks.
More than 100 new energy shot products were introduced from January 2007 to June 2009, according to Mintel’s GNPD. Until recently, the big energy drink brands had stayed out of the shot segment, but beginning in 2008, leading brands including Rockstar, AMP and Red Bull ventured into the sector.