Energy drops down low

Calorie-free versions dominate energy drink trends. Red Bull adds to the band of sugar-free lines

Red Bull Zero Calories was launched across the trade in February and March. And Red Bull has also launched the Athertons – a 473ml can featuring the world champion downhill mountain biking family.

WINGS for the slim. That’s the proposition in Red Bull’s early-2014 new product development efforts. Red Bull Zero Calories is described by the company as: “a new functional energy drink with for anyone who needs wings without the calories and sugar.”

The new line is designed, says the firm, to give the customer “positive everyday energy whilst removing the sugar and calorie barrier”. The company sees the move as a vital response to market trends: research company TRU’s global youth study (of 12-19 year-olds in 37 markets) shows that healthy living remains high on the agenda in the UK. More than seven out of 10 consumers believe it’s now more important than ever to be healthy. Nearly nine out of 10 consumers said calories and sugar are a barrier to purchase.


“Red Bull Zero Calories is a healthier choice for the health-conscious consumer, said Gavin Lissimore, Red Bull’s head of category marketing, “offsetting guilt and giving permission for an everyday ‘energy hit’ without the taste compromise.”
It is available in 250ml cans (including a £1.19 PMP) and a four-pack. And there’s a 473ml can that’s price-marked at £1.99.
Separately, Red Bull has launched a new special can that features world champion downhill mountain biking family the Athertons.
• Targeted promotions are key to success in the crowded energy drink sub-category according to Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE).
Dave Turner, CCE’s trade communications manager, said: “Energy drinks brands have helped to drive soft drinks category growth, investing heavily in engaging above-the-line campaigns to drive consumer awareness.
“For example, Monster Energy launched a promotion in partnership with Call of Duty in October 2013 which has seen the brand give away money-can’t-buy prizes with every can. These in-game rewards are exclusive to Monster fans.

Monster Energy’s partnership with Call of Duty in October 2013 resulted in sales growth during the campaign period that was more than double the rate achieved in the year as a whole.

“The promotion has been supported extremely well by the trade, resulting in sales growth during the campaign period more than double that of the growth experienced in the year as a whole.”
NPD for 2014 includes a new Cherry variety and a re-launch for Monster’s sugar-free product.
Shoppers are increasingly looking for sugar-free variants,” said Turner. “That’s why we have invested in the sugar-free ranges for both of our brands by re-launching Monster Absolutely Zero last year and re-naming and revamping sugar-free Relentless.
“Our Relentless sugar-free variant has been re-launched with new name, Relentless Origin Ultra, and refreshed packaging in a strong silver and white design to target the brand’s core audience of 18-30 year-olds.
“The move responds to consumer feedback that while shoppers enjoyed the benefits of the sugar-free variant, they would prefer it if the low-calorie message wasn’t communicated so obviously on-pack.”

Relentless has repackaged Origin Ultra to play down the low-calorie message. Consumers told CCE that they appreciated the health benefits of a sugar-free drink but did not want it plastered all over the can. Extreme, produced under licence by Vimto, comes in Sport and Energy varieties. Its connection with the Extreme Sports Channel ties it into the youth trend for adventure sports.

• More opportunities to consume energy and sports drinks are emerging all the time, according to Vimto Soft Drinks’ marketing manager, Emma Hunt. Vimto has been making the Extreme range under licence from the Extreme Sports Channel since July.
Quoting Nielsen figures she said: “The sports and energy drinks category is the number one soft drinks category within the impulse channel in the UK, growing at 5.4% year-on-year.
“Consumers are always on the lookout for the next big thing and energy drinks are increasingly becoming part of their everyday lives. It is important that independent retailers are on the front foot to capitalise on the opportunities this presents.
“There has also been a significant rise in 18-34 year-olds participating in extreme sports, more than any other group of outdoor sports.”
“Therefore, there has been a rise in demand for sports drinks from this audience.”
Extreme comes in two versions. Energy, in a black bottle, contains caffeine, taurine, glucosamine and vitamins.
Sport is a still tropical flavoured drink. Vimto Soft Drinks says Extreme Sport is the only action sports-focused isotonic sports drink on the market. It contains glucose and dextrose, said to replenish lost fluids and carbohydrate stores during and after exercise.