Monster Energy CEO addresses stiff competition in the energy drink set, teases alcohol launch

By Mary Ellen Shoup

- Last updated on GMT

Photo Credit: Monster Energy
Photo Credit: Monster Energy

Related tags Monster energy Energy drinks

Monster Energy is fighting to grow its shelf space in the increasingly competitive energy drink category while also dealing with unrelenting inflationary cost pressures, said CEO Rodney Sacks on the company's Q2 2022 earnings call.

Asked by analysts about the competitive landscape of the energy drink category especially with PepsiCo's recent $550m investment in Celsius​ and its growing retail footprint for Bang and Rockstar Energy along with other emerging brands such as Ghost Energy and C4, Sacks said the competition to hold onto and grow shelf space is undoubtedly stiff. 

"There will be a lot of fighting going on... you have got all of these sort of performance brands basically fighting for some more shelf space, and obviously, we will do the same. So there will be a lot of transition going on,"​ said Sacks.

Net sales +13.2% in Q2 2022, but significant supply chain challenges remain

The company reported net sales of $1.66bn in Q2 2022, a 13.2% increase vs. Q2 2021 while experiencing a significant increase in its cost of sales and operations, shared Sacks.

"Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent increased demand for the company’s energy drinks, the company prioritized ensuring product availability for its customers and consumers. This strategic direction has remained in place throughout the global supply chain challenges and disruptions despite adversely impacting the company’s profitability,"​ noted Sacks.

"The company continues to stand by its strategy to ensure product availability and solidify the continued long-term growth of the company’s brands."

Monster Energy reported retail dollar sales of the company's energy drink portfolio in all outlets increased by 6% in the 13-week period through July 23, 2022, vs. one year ago. The company's growth lagged behind the overall energy drink category which saw dollar sales increase 8.2% in the same period. 

Looking at individual brand performance, dollar sales of Monster led growth for the quarter (+7.4%) while the company's other brands posted declines: Reign (-5.6%), NOS (-3.9%), and Full Throttle (-0.8%).

In terms of its competitors, Sacks noted that sales growth of Monster exceeded that of Red Bull, which increased 3.8% and sales of PepsiCo-owned Rockstar were up 2.1% in the most recent 13-week period vs. one year ago.

The company's share in the convenience and gas channel, a key market for the energy drink category,  dropped slightly (-0.4%) to 36.1% share while direct competitor Red Bull saw its share drop -1% to 36.4% share.

Monster's coffee plus energy line, Java Monster, increased +4.4% over the same period vs. last year while its market share in the convenience and gas channel dropped by 1%. By comparison, Starbucks Energy posted a +9.4% increase in dollar sales over the same period vs. last year, and grew its market share by +2.2% to 47.7% share. 

New product innovation: Zero sugar energy and alcohol...

Sacks shared that following the acquisition of CANarchy Craft Beer Collective in January 2022, that Monster will be launching its first alcohol product Beast Unleashed, a full-bodied malt beverage containing 6% ABV, in late Q4 2022.

"Beast Unleashed will leverage Monster’s brand equity, while carving out its own unique space in the beverage alcohol sector and will be distinguishable from the many hard seltzer brands that have become so ubiquitous over the last several years,"​ said Sacks. 

"Our alcohol innovation pipeline is robust, with a number of additional innovative product lines currently under development."

Also launching in Q4 2022, Sacks announced plans to roll out its new Monster Energy Zero Sugar energy drink in the US market. 

"Monster Energy Zero Sugar was specifically developed as an indistinguishable Zero Sugar analog of our original unique Monster Energy Green flavor,"​ he said. 

Further price increases to come

Sacks highlighted the ongoing increased costs around freight and fuel rates, costs related to importing of aluminum cans (which the company is now beginning to source from the US and EMEA), and increased costs around secondary packaging materials and co-packing fees.

Combined, the company estimates that the increased cost related to materials and its supply chain cost the company $250.3m in the Q2 2022. 

Due to the continued cost pressures, the company is implementing a net sales price increase in the range of 6% in the US effective Sept. 1, 2022. 

"The company will also be implementing price increases in the second half of 2022 in certain international markets, some in addition to price increases or pricing actions taken earlier this year in order to mitigate inflationary cost pressures,"​ added Sacks. 

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