Energy drinks: simply fuel – or a flavour sensation? - News - Food + Drink - The Independent

Energy drinks: simply fuel – or a flavour sensation?

The potent pick-me-ups are now worth £1bn and young people can't seem to get enough

Highly caffeinated energy drinks have become an integral part of a frenzied, workaholic culture in the UK and nearly three-quarters of young people say they drink them regularly.

Popular pick-me-ups such as Lucozade Energy and Red Bull deliver a dose of caffeine equivalent to a cup of coffee, while their more potent competitors Relentless and Monster – marketed to extreme sports fanatics – can contain twice that amount, around 160mg per can.

Around 73 per cent of 16- to 24-year-olds now drink them regularly, market analysts Mintel said, and most say they simply like the taste.

The market for energy and sports drinks has grown by nearly 20 per cent in just three years and is estimated to be worth £1.1bn annually. In the UK alone, 209 new energy drinks have been launched in the past five years.

The drinks were selling well despite the sluggish economy thanks to a "combination of energy-giving functionality and taste", Mintel said.

"While these drinks may have started off as aids to physical exercise, they are increasingly filling a more holistic lifestyle need, especially for 16- to 34-year-olds," said Jonny Forsyth, Mintel's senior drinks analyst. Half the UK population now regularly drink energising, non-alcoholic drinks, either as daytime stimulants or as mixers. Analysts believe the UK's workaholic culture is driving the drinks' popularity.

Two-thirds of those aged 16 to 24 questioned by the researchers said the energy drinks improved their performance at work or while studying.

An increasing number of more potent energy drinks appearing on the market has led to a number of health scares. This year, medics from the American journal Pediatrics claimed some could cause "seizures, mania, stroke and sudden death" in children, and researchers from Vermont University said those hooked on energy drinks could be more susceptible to drug addiction.

The Food Standards Agency says that highly caffeinated drinks, which can also contain stimulants such as glucuronolactone, taurine, and herbal substances, do not pose a serious health risk but that children should drink them only "in moderation" and that they should be avoided by pregnant women.

In the late 1990s, the taste for energising drinks spread beyond the realms of sport. Red Bull was the first popular energy drink to hit the UK market. Its design and marketing were based on a more potent Thai drink called Krating Daeng. Four billion cans of Red Bull are now consumed worldwide every year.

Mintel said that the appetite for a daily caffeine fix was likely only to increase, projecting that the industry could be worth nearly £2bn by 2016.

Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke's video for 'Blurred Lines' has been criticised for condoning rape
music
News
Paper trail: the wedding photograph found in the rubble after 9/11 – it took Elizabeth Keefe 13 years to find the people in it
newsWho are the people in this photo? It took Elizabeth Stringer Keefe 13 years to find out
Arts and Entertainment
Evil eye: Douglas Adams in 'mad genius' pose
booksNew biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Sport
FootballFull debuts don't come much more stylish than those on show here
Arts and Entertainment
Fringe show: 'Cilla', with Sheridan Smith in the title role and Aneurin Barnard as her future husband Bobby Willis
tvEllen E Jones on ITV's 'Cilla'
News
i100
Sport
Tim Wiese
sport
Life and Style
Kim Kardashian drawn backlash over her sexy swimsuit selfie, called 'disgusting' and 'nasty'
fashionCritics say magazine only pays attention to fashion trends among rich, white women
Arts and Entertainment
TVShows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Arts and Entertainment
Hit the roof: hot-tub cinema east London
architectureFrom pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
Travel
travel
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    IT Administrator - Graduate

    £18000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: ***EXCELLENT OPPORTUNITY FO...

    USA/Florida Travel Consultants £30-50k OTE Essex

    Basic of £18,000 + commission, realistic OTE of £30-£50k : Ocean Holidays: Le...

    Marketing Executive / Member Services Exec

    £20 - 26k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Marketing Executive / Member Services Ex...

    Sales Account Manager

    £15,000 - £25,000: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has arisen for ...

    Day In a Page

    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    The Imitation Game, film review
    England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

    England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

    Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week