Energy drinks are adding a touch of zest to the European soft drinks market, with Mintel's Global New Products Database revealing an array of weird and wonderful names, ingredients and marketing ploys designed to entice consumers in need of a quick boost.
Adelholzener Alpenquellen has launched Fitness Orange Limone under its Active 02 Brand in Germany. The new product is described as a refreshing orange and lemon flavour mineral water with a high oxygen content - at least 50mg - as well as being rich in magnesium and vitamins B6, B12, biotin and folic acid. Available in 0.75 litre bottles it currently retails at €0.95.
Meanwhile in the UK the Jordan Grand Prix brand has jumped on the bandwagon with the creation of the EJ-10 Liquid Performance Drink, named after Jordan Grand Prix's founder Eddie Jordan and the 10 active ingredients in the drink. Jordan EJ-10 is a hypotonic drink targeting drivers. It contains phosphatidyl serine, maltodextrins and isolated proteins, but no caffeine or taurine.
Drinks manufacturers are increasingly seeking to differentiate energy drinks by leaving caffeine out of their formulations. This means consumers are not at risk of undergoing a sugar crash, nor will the drink act as a diuretic like most caffeine-based products, claims the Jordan team. The product has a lime flavour and is said to provide energy from eight minutes after consumption, which can last for up to 90 minutes. It is packaged in a 250ml can in Jordan Grand Prix yellow team colours.
In the Netherlands Brinta has repackaged its Wake Up! chocolate-flavoured dry form breakfast drink with added vitamins and iron. The powder now comes packaged in a 125g carton which has pictograms on the back indicating the functions of certain ingredients in the body and the energy and fibre contents.
In the same market, 'energy in action' is the slogan being used to market Acqua Minerale San Benedetto's Energade brand sports drink Explosion con Taurina. The main selling points of this new product are its 0.1 per cent taurine content and integrated mineral salts - sodium chloride and monobasic potassium phosphate.
Finland's Reformi-Keskus company has developed a Palautumis-Juoma Recovery Shakeunder its Dexal brand. The milk-based cocoa-flavoured shake not only contains added vitamins, zinc and magnesium, but is also said to be specially formulated to quickly restore glycogen burnt out during strenuous exercise. A 200ml carton of the shake retails at €1.99.
In Italy, the Shark company has released an energy drink containing the full gamut of energy-boosting ingredients available. Claimed to 'bring out the beast' and help the body regenerate quickly, it contains taurine, glucuronolactone, choline, caffeine, lysine, inositol, vitamins and guarana. Maxim Energy Gel, meanwhile, is a concentrated energy booster for use during exercise, available in the UK.
The collection is rounded off with Alternative Water's launch of its Juno Carbonated Guarana Drink in Germany; Vitabiotics' recent introduction of its Wellman High Performance drink into the UK; and in Norway, Cult has introduced Cult Energy Activator, an energy drink claimed to have a maximum content of guarana, caffeine and ginseng.
Drinks consultancy Zenith International reported in February that functional soft drinks consumption across the US, Japan and 16 West European countries passed the 12 billion litre mark in 2002. The international market grew by 11 per cent on 2001 and functional soft drinks now represent 6 per cent of soft drinks in these markets, compared with just 4 per cent in 1998.
The report's author Gary Roethenbaugh also commented that "European sports drinks consumption per person remains very low in comparison with the more sophisticated markets of the United States and Japan, which indicates that sports drinks do present a tremendous opportunity in West Europe". It seems this stream of new product launches will continue for some time.
Mintel's Global New Products Database looks at new product development, and features records of food, drink and non-food product launches. For more information, visit www.gnpd.com or call +44 20 7606 45533.