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Mintel Global New Products Database: Sports and Energy Drinks


Market Overview

  • The U.S. energy drink, shot and mix category has shown consistent annual growth from 2008 to 2013, despite negative media coverage and stagnating usage.
  • Sales of energy mixes, such as MiO Energy, have grown by 434 percent between 2011 and 2013, with consumers embracing products that allow them to control the potency and flavor of energy drinks.
  • Innovation in the North American sports and energy drink category declined strongly in the 12 months to September 2013, having recorded healthy growth the previous year.

Key Issues

  • Berry fruit flavors are a feature of the North American market, with the flavor appearing in 28 percent of all newly launched products. Brands have been keen to add blueberries, pomegranate, açai berries, cranberries and other berry fruits to products, to improve their health appeal.
  • The use of can packaging grew in 2012-13 as brands moved away from bottles. Flexible stand-up pouches are also being adopted by sports drink brands looking for greater convenience.
  • Declining sales of energy shots in the United States have transferred into innovation, with product numbers falling by 58 percent in 2012-13 alone.
  • The health concerns of U.S. consumers are influencing innovation efforts, with minus claims, such as no-/low-/reduced-calorie and -sugar, significantly more common in the region than globally.

What Does it Mean?

  • The continuing success of 5-Hour Energy’s Extra Strength line shows that energy shot brands can still post strong sales if they focus on the core attraction of the segment: effective energy.
  • Increased scrutiny of the safety of energy shots isn’t going to disappear. Brands that can allay consumer concerns by using natural sources of caffeine or by focusing on nutritional benefits could be well positioned in an evolving market.
  • Sports and energy drink brands can engage their core young male demographic in low-calorie products by embracing a zero-calorie positioning.
  • Coconut water can boost the health credentials of sports and energy drinks, reducing the sugar content of formulations naturally while also offering potassium and effective hydration.
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