Energy Drinks Are Shedding Their Unhealthy Halo
There has been much discussion in medical journals and beyond about just how healthy energy drinks are, particularly as regards to their caffeine content.
“We recognize our responsibility to market energy drinks responsibly, and we clearly label our energy products to provide information to the consumer regarding the caffeine content and additional ingredients,” says Paul Sheridan, senior director, global R&D sparkling, energy and foodservice at Purchase, N.Y.-based PepsiCo, whose brands include Rockstar Energy Drink and Mtn Dew Rise Energy. “Caffeine has been widely studied, and major global health organizations, including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the European Food Safety Authority, agree that caffeine is safe when used as a part of a normal diet. They do not discriminate between the caffeine in energy drinks and the caffeine in other contributors to daily intake such as coffee, tea, and chocolate.”
Adds Sheridan: “Caffeine in energy drinks typically ranges from 80 to 100 milligrams per 8 ounces. An 8-ounce cup of coffee contains, on average, 95 milligrams of caffeine.”
Laura Lynn Freck, senior director, shopper and category insights at Santa Monica, Calif.-based Red Bull North America, makes a similar point: “An 8.4-fluid-ounce can of Red Bull Energy Drink – the brand’s signature size – contains 80 milligrams of caffeine, about the same amount as in a home-brewed cup of coffee.”
So, according to the major manufacturers, if you can tolerate a cup of coffee, you should be fine after downing a can of your favorite energy drink.
Coca-Cola’s Lack of Energy
Despite considerable gains in the energy drink segment over the past year, there have been some setbacks: The Coca-Cola Co. said in May that it would discontinue sales of its highly touted Coca-Cola Energy drink in North America, which launched in the region just last year.
“As we emerge stronger from the pandemic, our strategy is focused on scaling big bets across a streamlined portfolio and experimenting in an intelligent and disciplined manner,” a spokesperson at the Atlanta-based company said in a statement supplied to Progressive Grocer. “An important component to this strategy is the consistent and constant evaluation of what’s performing and what’s not. As we scale our best innovations quickly and effectively like AHA and Coca-Cola with Coffee, we need to be disciplined with those that don’t get the traction required for further investment. It is for that reason we’ve made the decision to discontinue Coca-Cola Energy in North America.”
The product comes in 12-ounce slim cans containing 114 milligrams of caffeine, as niacin, vitamin B6 and guarana, in four varieties: Coca-Cola Energy, Coca-Cola Energy Zero Sugar, Coca-Cola Energy Cherry and Coca-Cola Energy Zero Sugar Cherry.