Research Finds Energy Drink Ingredients 'Continue Down Unhealthy Path'

Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD) revealed that the latest energy drink launches aren't getting any healthier. The popular beverage market continues to grow with sales increasing over 240% from 2004 to 2009. In the same timeframe, there has been a flood of new energy drinks to the market with new product launches up by over 110%.

Analyzing the ingredients in energy drinks launched between 2004 and 2008, Mintel GNPD found caffeine in nearly all energy drinks produced. Meanwhile, taurine, the other popular, yet controversial energy-boosting ingredient, was found in more than one in four (27%) energy drinks in 2004, but has slightly reduced to one in five (21%) in 2008.

Mintel found that suppliers are producing some new energy drinks that boast more health-focused claims, but they are in the minority. Energy drinks showing a 'low, no or reduced' calorie claim have increased from 6% to 11% between 2004 and 2008. Within the same timeframe, energy drinks featuring a 'low, no or reduced' sugar claim have held steady at one in seven new launches. In addition, better-for-you energizers like vitamin B6 and guarana have remained flat appearing in approximately 22% and 12% of new product launches, respectively.

In 2008, Ocean Spray introduced a line of Cranergy Energy Drinks billed as "naturally energizing." This line of drinks contains real fruit juice blended with natural energizers including five B Vitamins, Vitamin C and green tea extract. These new non-carbonated drinks are clinically shown to improve alertness and make people feel less tired. Bazza High-Energy Tea is another new energy-inducing beverage made from green tea and EGCG antioxidants and calls itself the "smarter high-energy alternative."

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