Celsius - which became a $1bn brand last year - has seen strong growth in the US but its international distribution is currently limited.
Its ‘new age energy’ positioning taps into a consumer base outside the typical energy drink space, which the brand believes gives it a unique proposition in the category (its typical drinkers 'consume Celsius, but don't consider themselves as energy drink consumers', as CEO John Fieldly put it).
Celsius draws on functional ingredients such as ginger, guarana, green tea & 7 vitamins in a proprietary blend called MetaPlus. It contains no sugar, no aspartame, no high fructose corn syrup, and no artificial colors or flavors. The drink is also certified gluten-free, kosher and non-GMO.
Founded in Florida in 2005, the brand charted steady growth reaching sales of $300m in 2021. But a $550m investment from PepsiCo in 2022 has helped propel the brand to new heights: becoming a $1bn brand last year.
Celsius has been growing its international revenues: seeing sales in Europe up 34% over the first nine months of 2023 (compared to the same period in 2022).
However, the $31m in revenues from international markets are still very small compared to the $930m it recorded in North America (where growth was even stronger: up 108% over the same period in 2022, thanks to continued gains in distribution points and SKUs per location.).
PepsiCo’s $550m investment in Celsius in 2022 gave it an 8.5% ownership share in the company, with a long-term strategic distribution arrangement seeing the beverage and snack giant take on US distribution.
PepsiCo’s powerful DSD (direct story delivery) platform was a key attraction for Celsius: giving it ‘transformational opportunity to gain immediate scale and accelerate market share’.
Now, this distribution agreement is being expanded to include Canada: where PepsiCo will start distributing Celsius exclusively as of this month.
In the UK and Ireland, Suntory Beverage & Food Great Britain and Ireland becomes the exclusive sales and distribution partner for these markets: with sales set to start this year.
The company – which is part of Japanese giant Suntory Group - already distributes household British names such as Lucozade Energy, Ribena and Orangina.
"With huge business growth over the past three years, and the continued strong performance of our brands, we are brilliantly placed to launch and grow Celsius,” said Carol Robert, Chief Operating Officer, Suntory Beverage & Food GB&I. “We are always exploring new ways to evolve our portfolio and offer even more choice of great tasting drinks to consumers.”
In the US, Celsius is sold across many retail segments: including supermarkets, convenience stores, drug stores, nutritional stores, mass merchants, health clubs, gyms and e-commerce websites.