All Things Energy

While the number of energy drink brands continues to expand year over year in the U.S., consumers can expect to see energy concepts grow well beyond the non-beverage format, according to Mintel, a global market research firm.

Mintel’s latest report on energy drinks valued the retail market for this category at $4.8 billion, a growth of over 400% from 2003.

In 2003, only 9% of adult respondents to Mintel’s survey said they drank energy drinks. In 2008, however, 15% did. And teens are picking up energy drinks even faster – a full 35% regularly consume energy drinks, up from 19% in 2003, Mintel’s research showed.

"Energy drinks have quickly become a daily beverage choice," said Krista Faron, senior new product analyst at Mintel. "As more Americans use energy drinks, we’ve seen a rise in products being launched with innovative new ingredients, claims and consumer targets."

"Energy bars are familiar to many Americans," Faron said, "but other energized foods, such as candy, chips, milk and cereal, are definitely not. We expect the concept of ‘energy’ – both physical and mental – to greatly influence food product development."

Faron has seen "energy" ingredients moving from drinks into food. Ginseng, guarana and taurine – popularized by energy drinks – now appear in snacks like NRG Phoenix Fury chips with taurine or Full Charge sunflower seeds with ginseng and guarana.

Caffeine is also emerging in foods from energy bars to cereals, such as Morning Spark’s caffeine-fortified instant oatmeal. Superfoods, recognized for high antioxidant content, are now added to foods for mental and physical performance benefits. The Think Green Superfood Energy Bar, for example, includes blueberries and noni powder.

"Energy is poised to take food in a new direction, giving consumers who need a boost many different ways to get it," Faron said. "From natural energizers like omega-3s or antioxidants to foods that are fortified with energizing ingredients, we are seeing ‘energy’ to emerge as a core benefit in new food products."

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