Energy drink trends

Energy drinks sales are on the rise. The greatest potential for new private label companies to get products to market is to partner with one of the top three energy drink companies that provide brand recognition and consumer confidence.

Energy drinks are projected to nearly double their sales by 2016, according to a June 2012 US Mintel report.

The key energy drinker consumers are teens, Hispanics and African Americans aged 18 to 34. More Asians drink energy drinks than any other race, while the African American community drinks the highest quantity of energy drinks.

Nearly three quarter of all energy drink consumers are looking for a cold beverage. Since limited cold storage space is available in convenience, some manufacturers may consider a self-chilling can technology as a strategy to ensure their drink is cold at the time of sale and consumption.

Natural energy drinks also hold great potential for sustainable growth. Such drinks derive their caffeine from green tea extract, while some use the green coffee bean. Mintel found that half of all energy drink consumers value the “made from all-natural ingredients” claim when purchasing their energy drink. The natural energy drink may be particularly attractive to women in raising their confidence that they can consume a safe energy drink.

Natural energy drinks were originally launched by relatively unknown beverage companies and evoked little confidence by consumers. Today, Starbucks, Nestle/Jamba and Campbell’s have all launched all-natural energy drinks. The marketing muscle and high brand awareness of these popular brands bring the consumer confidence that creates the natural energy drink success.

Additional product development and marketing tactics for energy drink companies will be to lower the calories and improve the taste of their energy drink. More than one-third of non-users believe energy drinks have too many calories and 43 percent of non-users report that they don’t like the taste. Therefore, energy drink producers need to provide better tasting, lower calorie options and communicate that these no/low sugar line of drinks to consumers to boost sales.

Through a partnership between Michigan State University Extension and the MSU Product Center, entrepreneurs are provided product development and market analysis assistance as they work to commercialize their food product. For more information, visit the MSU Product Center website or call 517-432-8750.

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