New energy drink launches are not getting any healthier, despite constant media criticism of too much sugar, caffeine and taurine within them, according to Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD).
The research company said that between 2004 to 2009 there had been a flood of new energy drinks on to the global market, with new product launches up by over 110% and sales increasing by over 240%.
Mintel's research showed that caffeine was found in nearly all new energy drinks produced during this period, and taurine was found in more than one in five (21%).
"There is a significant market right now for drinks offering a boost of energy," said Lynn Dornblaser, Mintel global new products expert. She said that consumers are trying to eat and drink better, but new launches often include high levels of sugar, caffeine and taurine, "all of which can have negative effects if consumed in excess"
"New, natural energy-enhancing products could threaten to steal share from their less healthy counterparts," added Dornblaser.
Often these products are not sold in the energy drinks aisle, she added, but rather in the juice or alternative beverage aisle. This helps to differentiate them from the "unhealthy stigma some consumers associate with energy drinks"
For example, Ocean Spray introduced a line of Cranergy Energy Drinks, containing real fruit juice blended with natural energy enhancing ingredients including five B Vitamins, Vitamin C and green tea extract. Bazza High-Energy Tea also launched a new energy-inducing beverage made from green tea and antioxidants.
Between 2004 and 2009 energy drinks showing a low-, no- or reduced-calorie claim increased from 6% to 11%. And ingredients such as vitamin B6 and guarana appeared in approximately 22% and 12% of new product launches, respectively.