FutureCeuticals’ organic Coffeeberry Energy brand, for example, uses whole coffee cherries and no chemical solvents in its drinks. HiBall Energy beverages contain guarana, ginseng, caffeine and a range of B vitamins. Other energy drinks, such as Matahi Energy Juice, come with sustainability claims. Matahi contains organic baobab fruit pulp and organic guarana as a source of caffeine.
The U.S. market for energy and sports drinks reached $25 billion in 2016, after rising at an annual rate of 7% during the past five years, according to Packaged Facts.
Even though consumers are moving away from sodas, not all consumers are flocking to bottled water, which became the nation’s leading beverage last year. For those who prefer something other than plain water and are paying greater attention to ingredient lists, drink manufacturers have taken notice by adding more naturally energy-boosting ingredients such as ginseng, caffeine and fruit to their products.
According to Mintel, green tea is one ingredient on the rise in the energy sector, mainly in drinks from smaller companies. Campbell Soup was one of the bigger players to take notice when it launched V8 V-Fusion Energy in 2013 in the midst of a downturn in the energy drinks market over ingredient safety concerns. The category has since seen a major turnaround, driven in part by more natural ingredients.
Another big driver has been the evolution of energy drinks’ target consumers. As millennials in particular have matured, their desire for a rush of sugar- and synthetic caffeine-fuelled energy has made way for less extreme ingredients. Mintel says 30% of energy drink users now consume natural energy drinks and shots.
Apart from natural ingredients, consumers increasingly are interested in ethical claims, and research suggests that people not only feel better about their choices when foods and drinks are sustainably produced, but they prefer the taste of such products too. As energy drinks compete with other options such as teas and flavored waters, there is a growing need for manufacturers to innovate, especially if they want to keep pace with the on-the-go millennial consistently looking for bold and edgy flavors.