Innovation is sparking renewed interest in energy drinks. In fact, more energy drinks were launched globally in 2015 than in any year since 2008, with the number of energy drink products launched growing 29 percent between 2010 and 2015, according to new data from Mintel’s Global New Products Database (GNPD).
Germany recorded the highest share of new energy drink product launches in 2015, overtaking the United States for the first time. Some 9 percent of global energy drink launches occurred in Germany in 2015, as opposed to 8 percent in the U.S. In comparison, Germany experienced just 6 percent of global new energy drink product launches in 2014, while 10 percent of global launches took place in the U.S.
It’s not just energy drink innovation that is booming, as volume sales are also on a high. In 2015, the global market for energy drinks rose by 10 percent to reach an unstoppable 8.8 billion liters. Around the world, the top five energy drinks markets in terms of volume sales are the U.S. (3.3 billion liters), China (1.4 billion liters), the United Kingdom (561 million liters), Thailand (465 million liters) and Vietnam (351 million liters). Volume sales in Germany reached 328 million liters, with Austria (79 million liters) and Switzerland (58 million liters) following much further behind. In terms of volume growth, China experienced the greatest increase between 2014 and 2015, rising by 25 percent, followed by Thailand at 19 percent.
“Energy drinks remain the controversial, yet undeniably successful, wild child of the soft drinks family. The primary driver of global growth remains the drinks’ capacity to provide consumers with a quick and effective energy boost—something which resonates with consumers the world over," said Alex Beckett, global food and drink analyst, Mintel. “Energy drinks are benefitting from being championed by giant brands, which devote huge investment to advertising and high profile marketing initiatives to project an exciting and edgy image. However, in less developed regions, local energy drink brands are emerging and gaining distribution as a more affordable alternative to multinationals, adding pressure for major players to project a brand identity that consumers from New York to Beijing want to be associated with, and pay more for."
On a natural note, Mintel research indicates that introductions bearing an organic claim have reached a record high. Some 7 percent of energy drinks launched globally in 2015 carried an organic claim, up from 4 percent in 2011. And organic innovation shows few signs of slowing down: so far in 2016, as many as 6 percent of global launches have carried an organic claim, with Europe leading the way. Fifty-eight percent of the organic energy drink products launched globally in 2016 have taken place in Europe, compared to 39 percent in North America and 3 percent in Latin America.
The rise in organic launches comes as consumers show strong interest in more natural energy drinks. One-quarter of U.S. consumers say they would be more comfortable drinking energy drinks or shots made with all-natural ingredients. Furthermore, more than half of consumers in Poland, Spain, Italy and Germany would like to see a wider variety of sports and energy drinks made with natural colorings and flavors. In China, 40 percent of consumers say they’d be encouraged to buy a sports of energy drink product made from natural ingredients.
“The rise in global organic energy drink offerings illustrates how the sector is attempting to appeal to a broader audience by conveying a more natural image. For the foreseeable future, brands will remain under pressure to reformulate with better-for-you ingredients," Beckett added.
Looking for innovative approaches to formulating energy products or the legal considerations in the category? Join us for the Capitalizing on the Future of Energy Drinks, Shots and Supplements workshop on Wednesday, Oct. 6, at SupplySide West 2016.