Pumping Up Energy Drink Sales
Energy drinks are not new to the Ready-To-Drink (RTD) market. The beverages saturated the market in the 2000s and gained popularity. Two decades later, energy drinks are having a renaissance with new launches. According to IRI, the overall energy drink category accounted for $15 billion in sales with an 11.6% increase in total U.S. multi-outlets for the 52 weeks ending May 16, 2021. Furthermore, according to Mintel, combined energy drink and energy shot sales are projected to reach $20 billion by 2024. Market activity is being driven by new flavors, brand extensions, collaborations, and new players.
New Energy Drink Flavors
In 2021, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson dropped Zoa Energy drinks made with “a clean blend of green tea and green unroasted coffee, electrolytes, amino acids, and superfoods like turmeric, camu camu, and acerola.” This year, Zero-Sugar White Peach and Zero-Sugar Tropical Punch flavors joined the lineup while Zoa announced Original and Lemon Lime flavors from the 100 Calorie collection would be discontinued. Oca added the Prickly Pear-Lime flavor to its plant-based energy drinks powered by tapioca. Other flavors in the line include Berry-Acaí, Guava-Passionfruit, and Mango. In addition, the brand has expanded its availability to more than 2,000 Kroger stores. Rowdy Energy has added Blue Raspberry and Grape to its energy drink portfolio. Both beverages are formulated with electrolytes and 160 mg of naturally occurring caffeine derived from green tea, and L-Theanine. Blue Raspberry has zero sugar, 5 calories, and is keto-friendly while Grape is 80 calories and has 60% less sugar than leading energy drinks.
Seasonal Limited-Editions & Collaborations
To create excitement, Mtn Dew is known for creating limited-edition flavors, collaborations, and exclusives. For example, last year Mtn Dew debuted Mtn Dew Uproar, which was a blend of berry and kiwi flavors, and was sold exclusively at Food Lion stores for a limited time. Under the Mtn Dew Game Fuel brand, Mtn Dew collaborated with video game streaming personality Jack “CouRage” Dunlop on the debut of CouRageous Sherbet. CouRage helped develop the flavor as well as the design of the limited-edition cans. For the holidays, Mtn Dew introduced Gingerbread Snap’d while Red Bull launched Winter Edition Pomegranate that featured notes of pomegranate, sour cherry, and red berries. This year, C4 Energy collaborated with Skittles on a C4 Energy X Skittles energy drink with zero-sugar and or carbs. The product is formulated for “consumers to sip the rainbow with explosive energy and fruity flavor.” Due to the popularity of the Red Bull Summer Edition Dragon Fruit flavor, Red Bull has announced that it will return this month as a permanent offering and will be called the Red Bull Green Edition Dragon Fruit.
Energy Drink Brand Extensions
Rockstar Unplugged is a PepsiCo Rockstar brand extension described as “a new kind of energy drink which focuses less on providing a big hit of energy and more focus on enhancing good vibes.” Rockstar Unplugged is offered in Blueberry, Pasion Fruit, and Raspberry Cucumber varieties and contains hemp seed oil, B vitamins, spearmint, and lemon balm with 80 mg of caffeine. 5-hour Energy debuted a line of Carbonated Energy Drinks offered in three flavors: Berry, Grape, and Watermelon. Green Cola is a cola naturally sweetened with stevia and naturally caffeinated with green coffee beans. It originally launched in 2012 in Greece and is now available in the U.S. sold at 1,000 retailers, as well as online with Amazon and Walmart.
New Energy Beverage Players
Starbucks joined the fray with the launch of Baya Energy, its own fruit-flavored energy drinks line. Baya Energy is available in three flavors: Mango Guava, Pineapple Passionfruit, and Raspberry Lime. The new beverage is “crafted from caffeine naturally found in coffee fruit as well as antioxidant vitamin C” and contains about 160 mg of caffeine. Coca-Cola with Coffee and Coca-Cola with Coffee Zero Sugar is a hybrid beverage that “sips like a Coke and finishes like a coffee” and has 69 mg of caffeine. Infused with Brazilian coffee. Coca-Cola with Coffee is available in three signature flavors: Caramel, Dark Blend, and Vanilla while Zero-Sugar comes in Dark Blend and Vanilla. Perrier entered the energy drink market with the launch of Perrier Energize. Offered in Grapefruit, Pomegranate, and Tangerine, the beverages are carbonated and feature mineral water from France, as well as caffeine from green coffee and yerba mate extracts. In India, Budweiser launched Budweiser Beats, a non-alcoholic energy drink that contains natural caffeine and B-vitamins.
Not an energy drink, but a notable new energy-related product is Hostess Boost Jumbo Donettes. The Boost Jumbo Donettes are available in Chocolate Mocha and Caramel Macchiato flavors and contain approximately 50 to 70 mg of caffeine from coffee bean extract.
Energy drinks are in demand. Goldman Sachs’ Q4 Beverage Bytes survey found that energy drinks experienced a 15% growth in convenience stores. Expect to see more flavors, brand extensions, collaborations, and new entrants.
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