The Rise of Clean Energy Drinks
Guest Blog Contributed by Rahi Daneshmand - Founder of Virtue Drinks (consumes 4-5 clean energy drinks daily)
Energy Drinks – Market Growth
The consumption of clean energy drinks is growing fast in the UK (and globally) driven by increased awareness of health and wellness among consumers. Lots of consumers are looking for energy, but seeking better options than traditional sugary & artificial energy drinks. Energy Drinks have become major players in soft drinks in the UK and over 1 in 3 soft drinks sold in convenience stores are Energy Drinks (IRI). Market research reports and industry trends show that the demand for clean energy drinks in the UK has been growing faster than traditional energy drinks. As a category, energy drinks overall are growing at +13% YOY, the energy drinks market is the biggest and most profitable drink-now segment (IRI).
Clean energy drinks offer high incremental growth to the energy drink category, with large numbers of consumers who have matured from energy drinks but are still looking for energy and consumers trading up to healthier products. Lots of these consumers might be drinking tea or coffee as sources of caffeine and would avoid consuming traditional energy drinks due to their negative sugary & artificial connotations.
Major UK Opportunity
- The UK has the 2nd highest per capita consumption of energy drinks globally. (source: Statista)
- The global energy drink market is expected to top $175 billion by 2030, with “clean energy” options leading the way. (Welltodo Global)
- Among adults, energy (37%) and weight loss (30%) are the most desired benefits of food and beverages. (Welltodo Global)
One key factor contributing to the growth of clean energy is the increasing preference for natural and healthier alternatives to traditional energy drinks. Consumers are becoming more conscious of the ingredients they consume and are actively seeking out beverages that are lower in sugar, free from artificial chemicals, and made with natural ingredients. With artificial ingredients or sugar as a usage barrier for 48% of energy drink non-users (UK Mintel). This shift in consumer preferences has created lots of opportunities for clean energy drink brands to gain traction in the UK market.
With the rise of clean energy drinks, there are several natural & functional energy drinks in the market too, which still might contain sugar and/or artificial ingredients, it is always helpful to look into the nutritional values and ingredients of brands. As clean energy would generally suggest in line with the benefits listed below – a clean ingredient deck, zero or low sugar & calories and no artificial ingredients.
The Benefits of Clean Energy Drinks
- Reduced Sugar Content: Clean energy drinks typically contain lower amounts of sugar compared to traditional energy drinks. By opting for clean energy drinks with reduced sugar content or natural sweeteners, individuals can avoid the negative effects associated with high sugar intake. Zero or low-sugar variants lead to sales growth in energy drinks, while sales of regular energy drinks are declining (Passport).
- Absence of Artificial Chemicals: Traditional energy drinks often contain artificial chemicals, such as artificial flavours, colours, and preservatives. Clean energy drinks generally focus on using natural ingredients and plant-based extracts, avoiding artificial chemicals that may have potential health risks.
- Natural Caffeine Sources: While both traditional and clean energy drinks may contain caffeine, clean energy drinks often derive their caffeine from natural sources like green coffee beans, green tea or yerba mate. These natural caffeine sources tend to provide a more balanced and sustained energy boost compared to the synthetic caffeine often used in traditional energy drinks.
- Health-Conscious Formulations: Clean energy drinks are often formulated with a focus on health and well-being. They may include beneficial ingredients like vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and extracts that offer additional health benefits.
- Transparency in Ingredients: Clean energy drink brands tend to prioritise transparency and clearly label their ingredients, allowing consumers to make informed choices. This transparency ensures that individuals know what they are consuming and can avoid ingredients they may be sensitive to or prefer to avoid.
- Sustainable and Ethical Practices: Some clean energy drink brands prioritise sustainability and ethical practices in their sourcing and production. They may use organic ingredients, support fair trade or more environmentally friendly packaging.
- Consumer Preference: With increasing awareness of health and wellness, many consumers prefer clean energy drinks over traditional ones. They are often seen as a better option due to their emphasis on natural ingredients, reduced sugar & calories, and a focus on overall well-being.
Negative Side Effects of Traditional Energy Drinks
Traditional energy drinks have been associated with several potential health concerns, which is why they are often regarded as bad for you and have helped lead to the evolution towards clean energy drinks. Here are some reasons why traditional energy drinks can have negative effects:
- High Sugar Content: Many traditional energy drinks contain high amounts of sugar, which can contribute to weight gain, obesity, and dental problems. Consuming excessive sugar can also lead to energy crashes and disrupt blood sugar levels, affecting overall health. With 57% of shoppers making or considering diet changes to make healthier choices (IGD) this has created lots of demand for better-for-you alternatives.
- Excessive Caffeine: Traditional energy drinks typically contain high levels of caffeine, often much more than what is found in a clean energy drink, cup of coffee or tea. Excessive caffeine intake can lead to side effects such as increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure, nervousness, anxiety, and sleep disturbances.
- Artificial Chemicals: Traditional energy drinks often contain artificial chemicals like artificial flavours, colours, and preservatives. These additives may have potential health risks, including allergies, sensitivities, and adverse reactions in some individuals.
- Impact on Sleep: The high caffeine content in traditional energy drinks can disrupt sleep patterns, leading to difficulties falling asleep or experiencing quality sleep. This can cause negative effects on overall health, including impaired cognitive function, mood disturbances, and decreased immune function.
The Caffeine Content In Traditional Energy Drinks and Other Drinks
- Prime Energy - 200mg (355ml can)
- Red Bull - 80 mg (250ml)
- Monster - 160mg (473 ml)
- Coca Cola Original - 32mg (330ml)
- Brewed Coffee - 135mg (235ml)
- Black tea - 30 - 50mg (235ml)
Innovative Sources of Energy – Yerba Mate
With the rise of clean energy drinks, there is a demand for natural sources of caffeine with more functional health benefits. As an alternative healthy source of energy, yerba mate has been fast gaining traction globally with it being an ingredient-forward energy source. Yerba mate is a naturally energising leaf, which has lots of major health benefits. It is often referred to as the “drink of the gods” as it offers the strength of coffee, the health benefits of tea and the euphoria of chocolate.
Yerba Mate is a natural antioxidant powerhouse (more antioxidants than green tea), known to boost energy levels and help with focus, aid weight loss and help maintain a healthy BMI (body mass index) and is recognised for its anti-inflammatory effects.
Why Clean Energy Drinks Promote Natural Caffeine?
Natural caffeine is often considered better for you than synthetic caffeine due to several reasons:
- Source and Processing: Natural caffeine is derived from plant sources such as green coffee beans, tea leaves or yerba mate. These sources undergo minimal processing, preserving the natural compounds present in the plants. On the other hand, synthetic caffeine is chemically manufactured and may involve the use of various chemicals and solvents during production.
- Additional Plant Compounds: Natural sources of caffeine, such as coffee and tea like yerba mate, contain additional beneficial compounds like antioxidants and polyphenols. These compounds have been associated with potential health benefits, such as improved cognitive function, reduced inflammation, and cardiovascular health.
- More Balanced Energy Release: Natural caffeine sources, particularly in the context of beverages like coffee or tea, often provide a more balanced and sustained release of energy. The additional compounds in these sources can help modulate the effects of caffeine and reduce the likelihood of jitters or energy crashes compared to synthetic caffeine.
- Personal Sensitivity: Some individuals may find that they are more sensitive to the effects of synthetic caffeine compared to natural caffeine. While individual responses can vary, natural caffeine sources like coffee or tea may be better tolerated by those who are more sensitive to the stimulant effects.
With all the benefits of clean energy and the negative side effects of traditional energy drinks, it is evident why demand for clean energy drinks is growing fast in the UK (and globally).