Acting on a tip-off from an industry insider – we asked the brand to confirm the news, and also why it had chosen to can the launch.
A spokeswoman for Monster Beverage was reticent, saying: “I've talked with the Monster folks about this a couple of times -- they just simply decided not to move forward with the product and there isn't anything to it other than that. They did move forward with Monster Ultra Blue.”
Further investigation of Monster’s Q4 2012 earnings call reveals CEO Rodney Sacks telling analysts: “Following the positive response that we received from consumers to the launch of Zero Ultra, we have decided to launch a new Ultra Blue line extension in the first half of 2013 and to defer the launch of the proposed Ultra Pink line extension for now.”
Zero-calorie, zero sugar option
Monster trailled the H1 2013 release during an investor presentation last December, when it also unveiled plans to release protein-rich range Muscle Monster, which hit the market this spring.
Monster Energy Ultra Pink, a can of which was shown on a slide during Monster’s December 11 presentation (included in this Securities & Exchange Commission filing) was touted as a zero-calorie, zero-sugar energy option.
Although Monster’s rationale for shelving the launch remains a mystery, this informative review of Monster Ultra Blue by Jason Hargett from ScreamingEnergy.com perhaps gives us one clue as to why.
Discussing the new Ultra Blue variant this spring (and presumably Ultra Pink would not have been that much different, flavor aside) he said: “In true Monster fashion, they took a relatively good idea, and made another product that’s pretty much the same.”
Overdoing Monster’s lo-carb diet?
Hargett added: “I like Ultra Blue…but we really only need one of this flavor. Even if you’re diabetic, you have to be getting tired of all the lo-carb Monster flavors,” he added.
“You’ve got all the rehab teas, Zero Ultra, Monster Lo-Carb, Absolutely Zero, Import Light, and whatever they’re calling Java Monster Lo-Ball these days,” he said.
‘What’s next – ‘Srsly Zero?’
Monster Beverage announced in February that it plans to reclassify its energy drinks as beverages rather than dietary supplements, and Monster Energy Ultra Blue is one of the first launches since.
This switch does not involve a legal requirement to list caffeine levels, but the company has said it plans to do so for 90% of its products by May, as a result of its new American Beverage Association (ABA) membership.
As such, the nutrition facts label for Ultra Blue does list 140mg of caffeine per 480ml (16oz) can.