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Energy Drinks

Energy Drinks

Energy drinks are beverages that contain some sort of stimulant, artificial or natural, in order to enhance mental and physical energy. They can be carbonated or noncarbonated, and are marketed in a wide array of flavors and varieties. 

Popular stimulants used in energy drinks include:

  • Caffeine
  • B vitamins
  • Sugar
  • Taurine
  • Creatine 

The first prominent energy drink was released in 1929 to be used as a recovery drink in hospitals and was rebranded as an energy drink and brought to mass market in the early 1980s. In 1995, PepsiCo became the first major beverage brand to release its own energy drink, and in 2012 the word “energy drink” first appeared in Webster’s dictionary.  Currently, Red Bull and Monster are two of the biggest names dominating the energy drink industry.

Energy drinks have seen amazing evolution. There are still traditional energy drinks, sold in cans or bottles similar to soft drinks, but we’ve also seen the introduction of tablets and powders that can be dissolved in water, as well as smaller, concentrated “energy shots” (such as 5-Hour Energy).

With a consumer focus on more natural food and beverages, ingredients such as herbal extracts, guarana, yerba mate, acai, ginseng, and ginkgo biloba are also increasing in popularity. In addition, growth is expected with energy drinks that are lower in sugar, calories, and artificial coloring and flavoring as consumers focus more on health and function.

Regulatory Challenges 

While not as heavily regulated as alcohol or CBD beverages, energy drink manufacturers do face some challenges when it comes to regulation. Misuse of energy drinks can and has been fatal, and because of the potentially harmful effects of consuming energy drinks in excess, some countries and retailers (such as Aldi) have imposed age restriction guidelines for the purchase of energy drinks.The US, Canada, and several other countries also have restrictions on the amount of caffeine that can be included per serving in food and beverage. 

In order to navigate this limitation, some energy drink manufacturers have shifted to the use of larger cans that contain multiple servings in order to bring a higher caffeine content per can to the consumer.