For the purposes of this report, energy drinks have been defined as beverages that specifically claim to provide an energy or stimulation boost. These products also have a marketing position that stresses energy. Many generally include active ingredients such as glucose, caffeine, and taurine, as well as other health-oriented ingredients, such as ginseng and various vitamins and minerals. Please note that in this report energy drinks focus is primarily on nonaseptic energy drinks. Aseptic energy drinks sales in FDMx accounted for less than 0.03% in FDMx in the 52 weeks ending June 12, 2011; therefore, aseptic energy drinks are not included in this report.
Energy shots are also included in the report; they are defined as concentrated energy-boosting drinks containing caffeine and B vitamins, usually available in a 2- to 3-oz. bottles/cans. Most energy shots differ from energy drinks in their marketing platform (i.e., an energy boost without the crash associated with energy drinks).
The market size figures shown in this report are based solely on estimates of off-premise sales.
The following presents a list of common active ingredients used in functional beverages:
- Caffeine has a stimulating effect on the body, most notably on the cardiovascular system and the brain.
- Taurine is an amino acid that naturally occurs in the body in levels sufficient to sustain everyday needs, but people may experience a shortfall of taurine during increased physical exertion. It is also known for its detoxifying and antioxidizing effects.
- Vitamins, of which there are many, figure prominently in stimulation drinks and fortified juices.
- Ginseng is a longevity herb extracted from the root; it owes its healing values to several chemicals called ginsenosides and is claimed to offer energy, stamina, and well-being.
- Guarana, a popular source of natural caffeine extracted from seeds, is used to reduce fatigue and increase the attention span.
- Echinacea: extracted from the purple coneflower that is native to North America, this herb is widely used to stimulate the immune system and as a preventive measure against colds and flu, minor infections, and other ailments.
- Ginkgo biloba is prepared from the tree of the same name, this botanical is associated with increased circulation and associated improvements in memory, cognitive function, and circulatory disorders; it is also considered an antioxidant.
- Green tea, along with black tea, is made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. Black tea has been fermented while green tea has not; green tea is considered an antioxidant and is claimed to improve cardiovascular function and help prevent cancer.
Excluded from this report are:
- mind/body health drinks, marketed broadly as “lifestyle beverages” and “healthy refreshment,” range from herbal adult soft drinks and teas to drinks making specific claims of stress relief, mental rejuvenation, and a boost to the immune system
- sports drinks
- carbonated soft drinks
- diet aids (e.g., Slim-Fast) and meal-replacement products (e.g. Ensure)
- powdered/protein drinks
- vitamin-fortified fruit juice.
The popularity of energy drinks has brought about some new products that are category “hybrids.” For example, in 2006 Coca-Cola launched Vault—a hybrid of soda and energy drink. These types of products are not included in the sales figures but are addressed, where appropriate.