- Monster Energy released the first 100% vegan energy drink called Java Monster Farmer's Oats. It is made with oat milk, coffee and Monster's energy blend that contains taurine, ginseng and guarana, according to a press release.
- The beverage comes in 15-ounce cans and contains 200 milligrams of caffeine and 150 calories.
- "The sheer amount of vegan alternatives available in 2019 allows for both passionate vegans and flexitarian consumers to eat and drink together like never before," Geoff Kutnick, CEO of foodbeast.com, which is co-hosting the drink's launch party, said in a statement. "Farmer's Oats entrance into the marketplace couldn't come at a better time."
With Monster Beverage facing growing competition as the energy drink space becomes more saturated, the company is under pressure to innovate in order to stand out. In addition to Farmer’s Oats, Monster this year has released Reign Total Body Fuel, which is the first of Monster's energy drinks targeted to pre- or post-workout consumers looking for functional attributes. Monster also has debuted other products in 2019 such as a Dragon Tea line, a white tea with hints of dragonfruit and acai flavors. Even more novel is Monster’s desire to expand its portfolio outside of energy drinks to include alcoholic beverages, cannabis-infused drinks and nonalcoholic sips.
This innovation seems to be paying off. The energy drink manufacturer said in early August that sales during its second quarter rose 8.7% to a record $1.1 billion. Monster CEO Rodney Sacks attributed part of the increase to the debut of Reign Total Body Fuel.
Including oat milk in the popular Java Monster line is a forward-thinking move to appeal to consumers who are looking to maintain a plant-based diet. It is also a good way for Monster to gauge the future popularity of alternative beverage ingredients.
Oat milk has quickly become a trendy new product. According to Nielsen data, oat milk grew 35.5% for the 52 weeks ended August 25, 2018, siphoning sales away from traditional milk and soymilk. Couple this with the popular energy drink market – total sales were close to $11 billion in 2018, a 7.5% jump from the previous year – and Monster may find itself with a winning combination.
On the surface, putting any kind of milk into an energy beverage may seem like an odd combination. But Monster has already carved out a niche in the coffee energy drink segment with its Java Monster line. This year, the company launched a Swiss Chocolate flavor of the beverage that helped grow the product line. Oat milk is a clever addition and is likely to attract consumers looking to avoid dairy products in their diets.
Combining two megatrends is often a good approach to help attract consumer interest in a product and set a brand apart from the pack – something Monster needs to do. Despite being synonymous with energy drinks, the success of the space has attracted interest from other big players eager to capitalize on its popularity.
Depending on the success of this launch, other purveyors of energy drinks may begin including oat milk in their formulations. Coca-Cola, which bought a nearly 17% stake in Monster in 2015, is planning to launch its energy drink in the U.S. early next year and may decide to expand its offerings later on. Amazon’s private label energy drink, and Red Bull, the only energy drink more popular than Monster, also will be paying attention.
With the number of energy drink competitors increasing, the pressure will be on Monster to keep innovating. While a novel idea, the oat milk energy drink line may just be the beginning for Monster.