Nearly six in 10 US energy drink consumers worry about their safety, Mintel

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 8th January 2014

Nearly two thirds (59 per cent) of US consumers who are currently energy drink or shot users say they worry about the safety of energy drinks and shots, according to new findings from market research organisation Mintel.

However, despite Government scrutiny and suggestions of health hazards, consumers continue to use the flavourful energy enhancers. Despite fears over safety, the energy drink shot, and mix category beat back detractors to show consistent annual growth from 2008 to 2013 (estimated) sales. The market reported two years of 17 per cent increases in 2012 and 2013 (estimated) and is expected to continue a steady upward trajectory to 2018, according to Mintel.

“Energy drinks and shots faced significant scrutiny following lawsuits and proposed legislation that began in 2012,” said Jenny Zegler, Global Food and Drink Analyst for Mintel Food and Drink. “The media attention publicly challenged the safety and health effects of this pick-me-up category,” she said.

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

More than half of Mintel respondents (56 per cent) who use energy drinkns and/or shots said they did so because the products are more effective for energy and alertness than other beverages. Just more than a third (35 per cent) said they were convenient and 31 per cent said they liked the taste.

Health and cost top reasons for cutting down

When it came to cutting down on energy drinks, health and cost were the leading reason. Nearly four in ten (30 per cent) of US consumers said the products are not good for their health and 35 per cent said they had heard negative information about their health effects. In addition, 35 per cent said they are just 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,” Ms Zegler said.

Men and women view energy drinks differently

When marketing to energy drinkers, Mintel said men and women should be viewed differently. More than three-quarters of women aged 18-34 (79 per cent) who drink energy beverages agreed that companies should include recommended daily consumption limits on the packaging of their energy drinks versus 71 per cent of men. In addition, 62 per cent of women aged 35 or older say they worry about the safety of energy drinks and shots compared to only 51 per cent of their male counterparts.

“People’s desire for additional energy to accomplish everything in a given day will continue to fuel positive sales growth for the energy drink category,” Ms Zegler said. “However, because even a portion of current users are cutting back due to health and safety concerns, companies must educate the public on the health, safety and global use of energy drinks, shots and mixes,” she said.

“Innovations in serving size and/or format could keep users active in the category and perhaps inspire new entrants,” Ms Zegler said.

Nearly 1 in 6 US energy drink consumers worried about their safety