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Energy Drink Consumers Concerned About Safety

A new Mintel study suggests that nearly six in 10 U.S. energy drink consumers are worried about potential harm from the beverages.
January 8, 2014

​CHICAGO – According to new research from Mintel, nearly six in 10 Americans (59%) who are current energy drink or shot consumers say they worry about the safety of the products.

Despite fears over safety, the energy drink, shot, and mix category has beat back detractors to show consistent annual growth from 2008 to 2013 (estimated) sales. Mintel reports two years of 17% increases in 2012 and 2013 (estimated) and is expected to continue a steady upward trajectory to 2018.

“Energy drinks and shots faced significant scrutiny following lawsuits and proposed legislation that began in 2012. The media attention publicly challenged the safety and health effects of this pick-me-up category,” said Jenny Zegler, global food and drink analyst for Mintel Food & Drink, in a press release. “However, loyal users continue to drink the products because they are viewed as more effective than other beverages. This continued level of activity in the face of adversity has helped the category’s rise to continue.”

More than half of Mintel respondents (56%) who consume energy drinks and/or shots do so because they are more effective for energy and alertness than other beverages. Just more than one-third (35%) say they are convenient and 31% like the taste.

When it comes to cutting down on energy drinks, health and cost are the leading reason. Indeed, 39% of Americans say they are not good for their health and 35% say they have heard negative information about their health effects. In addition, 35% say they are just too expensive. “Manufacturers must address these health issues in order to retain current users, while concerns about price should be addressed by promotions and limited-time discounts,” said Zegler.

When marketing to energy drinkers, men and women should be viewed differently, according to Mintel. More than three-quarters of women between the ages of 18 and 34 (79%) who drink energy beverages agree that companies should include recommended daily consumption limits on the packaging of their energy drinks versus 71% of men. In addition, 62% of women who are 35 and older say they worry about the safety of energy drinks and shots compared to only 51% of their male counterparts.