ACROSS the soft drinks category, sugar has been the big story of recent years and demand for low and no-sugar options has sky-rocketed.
Energy drinks are no exception. Despite consumers purchasing cans and bottles of energy drinks specifically for an energy hit, it seems a growing number don’t want it to come from sugar.
“As the focus on health continues, consumers are increasingly looking towards low-sugar variants of their favourite brands,” said Mark Sterratt, market, strategy and planning director for Lucozade Ribena Suntory, which in November 2016 announced a plan to remove 50% of the sugar from its drinks.
“All added sugar drinks are being reformulated to contain 4.5g of total sugar or less per 100ml (approximately a teaspoon) and every brand will be available in zero or low-calorie alternatives,” said Sterratt.
Sugar is an important component of energy delivery for the majority of consumers in the market, but a growing number are looking for a lower calorie or even sugar free option.
This year it launched Lucozade Zero Original, bolstering the existing range of Pink Lemonade and Orange.
• As well as flavours and sizes, Boost Drinks says retailers would do well to give serious consideration to sugar-free variants when thinking about their range.
Quoting figures from IRI, managing director Simon Gray said: “Sugar-free sales are growing exponentially at 47% volume, and whilst from a low base it is a category that cannot be ignored as it will continue to grow as more and more consumers seek sugar-free options.”
• While energy drink sales have been driven by a focus on innovation, most recently, much of this new product development has been focused on low or zero sugar variants, according to Coca-Cola European Partners.
Trade communications manager Amy Burgess said: “We helped retailers meet this demand for zero sugar drinks with the launch of Monster Energy Ultra, a range of three calorie free flavours, in January 2016.
“This increasing demand was reflected further in January 2017 with the launch of a fourth Monster Energy Ultra variant. Monster Energy Ultra Citron combines a sparkling lemonade flavour with the light citrus sweetness of the Ultra range, further increasing the choice of sugar-free energy drinks for health-conscious consumers.
“Its launch comes after sales of low calorie energy drinks grew by 32% over the past year, making it the highest performing segment in the energy drinks sector. Since its launch, the Monster Energy Ultra range can claim responsibility for 55% of this low calorie growth, with Monster Energy Ultra White the biggest generator of growth in the entire sector during 2016.”
• The low calorie, big can energy market in Scotland is currently worth £6.5m, according to IRI figures quoted by AG Barr, and is estimated to grow significantly over the next five years.
“Sugar is an important component of energy delivery for the majority of consumers in the market, but a growing number are looking for a lower calorie or even sugar free option,” said marketing director Adrian Troy.
“Rockstar Pure Zero was launched to meet this need, fulfilling both the demand for a low calorie option and the demand for great-tasting flavoured energy. It is important that retailers cater for this need and opportunity by offering choice to their shoppers.”