Busy lives behind big rise in energy drinks

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The Independent Online

Sales of energy-boosting drinks are growing at a phenomenal rate as young people with "work hard, play hard" lifestyles increasingly switch to the fashionable and aggressively marketed brands.

The market for Red Bull, Lucozade and other energy or stimulant drinks has grown by 366 per cent since 1996 to be worth £615m a year while sales of Coca-Cola and Pepsi have risen by just 8.1 per cent to £2.79bn, according to a survey by the consumer analysts Mintel. The company said: "The market has been driven by people working longer hours, driving longer distances and enjoying increasingly energetic social lives."

Sales of stimulant brands, such as Red Bull, rose by 5,588 per cent from 1996 to 2000, despite 60 per cent of shops not stocking the drinks, Mintel said.

Although £15m was spent advertising the drinks last year, consumers are still sceptical of benefits:only 20 per cent of adults believe they are "a good pick-me-up" and only 5 per cent think they improve alertness.