Promising a “refreshing and energizing take” on the morning routine, the brand said that the drink (pictured) contained 5% real fruit juice and (in lieu of specifics) “just the right amount of caffeine”.
The brand claims its Kickstart Orange Citrus and Fruit Punch flavors promise just 80 calories per 16oz (473ml).
Greg Lyons, VP of marketing at Mountain Dew, said that consumers had been looking for an alternative to traditional morning beverages, “one that tastes great, includes real fruit juice and has just the right amount of kick to help them start them days”.
Trumps existing energy flavor
Global nutrition analysis and insight firm New Nutrition Business identified fruit and vegetable-based brands as its third key food, nutrition and health trend for 2013, in a recent 10 Key Trends report.
Analyst Julian Mellentin explained that consumers understood the value of fruit and vegetables in drinks, where could thus command a price premium, while a ‘naturally healthy’ image dispensed with the necessity for making health claims.
More pertinently in relation to the Mountain Dew launch, Mellentin said that an growing number of companies were launching ‘natural’ energy drinks into a gap left by the segment’s artificial heart.
Such new offerings used fruit and sometimes vegetable juice as a carrier, he said, and a means of providing better flavor than existing energy products.
V8 Effect: Vegetable nutrition megabrand
For instance, Campbell’s had transformed its V8 brand (eight vegetables), Mellentin said, from a difficult-tasting oddball brand into the vegetable nutrition megabrand of the Western world”.
V8 Fusion was the standout performer, Mellentin noted, although V8 Fusion + Energy Drinks contributed only $6m to a brand worth $300m for the 52 weeks to August 2012 (Symphony IRI) in terms of supermarket (excluding Walmart) drug store and mass merchant sales.
“That’s a tiny pittance…but it does represent a meaningful incursion by the brand into a natural energy drinks segment that has fielded few competitors but which seems likely to grow,” he said.
Since launching the brand extension two years ago, Mellentin said that V8 had worked with Coca-Cola to distribute its drink through key energy channels, namely C-stores and drugstores.
Notably, V8’s energy extension was also aimed at a different demographic than young males, Mellentin added, working mothers who (in the words of Mike Barkley, Campbell’s VP and general manager of healthy beverages), “need that energy boost but care about taste and health too”.