Energy Category Flourishes Despite Health Concerns

The energy category continues to post strong growth despite nearly six in 10 Americans (59 percent) who consume energy drinks or shots expressing their concern about the safety of such products in light of allegations of health hazards and government scrutiny.

According to new research from Mintel, the category showed consistent annual growth – 17 percent increases in 2012 and 2013 – and is expected to continue a steady upward trajectory to 2018, despite such concerns.

Jenny Zegler, global food and drink analyst for Mintel Food & Drink, notes that since 2012, the category has seen “significant scrutiny following lawsuits and proposed legislation,” adding that the “media attention publicly challenge[s] the safety and health effects of this pick-me-up category.”

"However, loyal users continue to drink the products because they are viewed as more effective than other beverages. This continued level of activity in the face of adversity has helped the category's rise to continue,” Zegler added.

More than half of Mintel respondents (56 percent) who use energy drinks and/or shots do so because they are more effective for energy and alertness than other beverages. Just more than one-third (35 percent) say they are convenient and 31 percent like the taste.

When it comes to cutting down on energy drinks, health and cost are the leading reason, with 39 percent of Americans saying they are not good for their health; 35 percent say they’ve heard negative information about their health effects. In addition, 35 percent say they are too expensive.

"Manufacturers must address these health issues in order to retain current users, while concerns about price should be addressed by promotions and limited-time discounts," concluded Zegler.

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