Energy drinks sales skyrocket in UK despite health concerns

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 20th October 2014
Energy drinks sales skyrocket in UK despite health concerns
Energy drinks sales skyrocket in UK despite health concerns

Over half of UK consumers believe energy drinks are bad for ier health, but sales of the drinks are reaching record levels anyway, according to global market research organisation Canadean.

Canadean said that to secure the success of this fast-growing market, producers would need to come up with ‘healthier’ recipes and ingredients.

A new survey by Canadean revealed that almost one in 10 UK consumers consume energy drinks, with half of them doing so on a weekly basis. Nearly a quarter (24 per cent) of respondents who consume energy drinks said they drink them “more than once a week”, while 26 per cent said that “weekly” consumption was the norm. Canadean said this was reflected by the overall UK sales numbers, as energy drink consumption had increased from 375 million litres in 2010 to 500 million litres in 2013.

However, the survey also showed that consumers have concerns over the ingredients used in energy drinks. Almost 6 out of 10 energy drink consumers believed that energy drink consumption was bad for their health and that the ingredients included in energy drinks were “worrying”. Moreover, 72 per cent of all respondents who drank energy drinks thought that there should be a restriction on the sale of energy and stimulant drinks to children.

Improved recipes following pressure from social media

According to Canadean, there is a connection between the increased consumer awareness about unhealthy ingredients, social media and producers’ efforts towards improved recipes.

“More and more consumers exchange reviews and opinions about food and drinks ingredients online and are able to look up dubious additives and e-numbers quickly,” said Thomas Delaney, analyst at Canadean. “This means that manufacturers need to become more transparent regarding their ingredients and react fast to negative news online,” he said.

“For example, some brands have adopted a taurine-free ingredients list after the amino sulfonic acid commonly added to energy drinks had received bad press linking it to increased blood pressure, seizures, strokes and heart diseases,” Mr Delaney said.

The future of energy drinks lies in “clean” and “sugar-free”

Some new companies have seized the opportunity of the emerging health market to take their beverage products even further, according to Canadean.

Adina, for example, opts for “clean” energy sources that tout the use of plant-based caffeine and other natural energy-boosting ingredients. Specialising in coffee-based drinks, Adina claims to be the first to produce a coffee energy drink that preserves the benefits of the coffee beans and delivers four fruit servings worth of antioxidants in each can.

Canadean said even the market leaders, Red Bull and Monster Energy, have released more health-conscious beverages.

“Although the two biggest players in the energy drinks market have not yet incorporated taurine-free energy drinks in their product ranges, Red Bull’s sugar-free and zero calories variants and Monster Energy’s absolutely zero beverage attest to a trend towards healthier drinks,” Mr Delaney said. “They are tell-tale signs of a diverging energy drinks market,” he said.