Energy Drinks Blog 6

As many millennials and older Gen Zers are under immense pressure to juggle new parenthood with work and other responsibilities, they are leaning into things that provide healthy but energising ways to stay mentally alert, focused and calm.

Beverages, snacks and supplements that address their energy requirements and lifestyle demands are ripe opportunity for the market.

Alongside this, younger consumers are collecting ‘hyped status symbol’ beverages recommended by their favourite social media influencers, fuelling further growth across the whole category. 

Join us as we dive into four key trends that are keeping the category going.  

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1.    A healthier buzz

Drinks that deliver a low-calorie, non-jittery energy boost with additional functional ingredients are appealing to a wide range of drinkers. In particular, a growing portion of American millennials aged 27-37 are interested in these wellness-focused options: many of them are new parents looking for a cleaner energy source to help them stay alert throughout family life, according to Mintel. 

Some brands like Heywell (US) are zeroing in on stress and cognitive health. Whilst Peak (UK) dubs its energy offering a “mood drink”, designed to enhance feelings of inspiration, focus and motivation by stimulating dopamine production. 

Minimising the jitter, Straight Up Energy (Australia) has a caffeine-free drink that is the first globally to contain a non-stimulant energy source that helps the body to produce energy and speeds up muscle recovery. 

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2.    Energised influence

Influencer brands hold enormous sway, particularly among younger consumers. It’s likely you would have heard of much-hyped tween-targeted drink Prime. Launched by social media personalities Logan Paul and KSI in 2022, the drinks were highly sought by teens and tweens across the world, eager to be the first to try it. 

Making $377m in global sales between January and September 2023, and a growing black market for rare flavours, the drink has seen soaring success. Despite its popularity, Prime has seen backlash for marketing its energy drink to teens due to its 200mg of caffeine per bottle (equal to 2 cans of Red Bull) and resulting in some schools banning it. 

It seems more social stars want in on the energy drink trend, but are doing so whilst listening to Primes backlash. New caffeine-free energy start-up GÖNRGY, fronted by German social media star MontanaBlack, launched in July 2023 and reached more than a million views in 24 hours.

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3.    Peppy formats

Beverage start-ups are also enticing younger consumers with fun and convenience. Indonesian-Singaporean brand Fun have caffeine-free energy sprays marketed for a daytime mood boast as well as an “energy fuel” for nights out – a clever pull for increasing alcohol avoidant Gen Zers (read more about this trend here). 

Vae Labs (US) are a similar caffeinated spray which recently received $2m in seed funding. Three pumps of the spray contains the same amount of caffeine as a cup of coffee while allowing consumers to feel it effects five times faster. 

Energy juices are also entering the market. Morning Juice Co (US) have a bag-in-the-box caffeinated orange juice for memory, focus, and brain-boosting energy without the jitters.

4.    Lifestyle leanings

Energy drinks have had a long-term relationship and association with sports. Creatin energy drinks to fuel more niche lifestyles and hobbies is now a key avenue for beverage brands. Drinks that target gamers remain popular: in a Mintel survey 30% of 18-34 year old American men had consumed “gamer” energy drinks in the past three months. Many brands catering for this cohort are pivoting away from highly caffeinated options. 

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Team SMG collaborated with Mate Mate to create a natural canned tea drink for gamers. Meanwhile in the US, Sly markets drinks for different gamer needs state including ‘Boost’ and ‘Chill’.

Companies are also associating themselves with growing sport-leisure pursuits like pickleball. Reign Storm (US) has positioned itself as the perfect way to refuel after a pickleball match. It also partnered with the US sporting body the Association of Pickleball Players, grounding itself in being THE energy drink for the sport. 

As the energy drink market continues to grow in variety, and the desired effect or reason to consumes changes, it’s time for F&B businesses (or those who serve F&B as part of their offering) to consider what role energy drinks has for them and their guests. Places that focus on wellness, fitness and balanced lifestyles can now provide their customers with options that are low-calorie and jitter-free. Avoiding the negative perception and side-effects the drinks used to have. 

Have you considered how energy drinks fit into your product offering? Get in touch with our F&B consultants to discuss what the right fit is for your brand experience. 

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