According to new data published by research firm Mintel, more energy drinks were launched globally last year than in any year since 2008, while the global market for these drinks rose by 10% to a high of 8.8 billion litres.
The number of energy drink launches grew by 29% between 2010 and last year. While Germany was “king” when it came to energy drinks innovation — accounting for 9% of new product launches for the year — it was China that showed the greatest increase in market growth by volume. China recorded growth of 25% between 2014 and 2015, followed by Thailand with an increase of 19%.
The top five energy drinks markets in terms of volume sales were the US (3.3 billion litres), China (1.4 billion litres), the UK (561 million litres), Thailand (465 million litres) and Vietnam (351 million litres).
“Energy drinks remain the controversial, yet undeniably successful, wild child of the soft drinks family,” said Alex Beckett, global food and drink analyst at Mintel. “The primary driver of global growth remains the drinks’ capacity to provide consumers with a quick and effective energy boost — something which resonates with consumers the world over.”
Consumers are also showing a strong interest in more natural energy drinks. Mintel data showed that one in four (26%) of US consumers said they would be more comfortable drinking energy drinks or shots made with all-natural ingredients, while over half of those in Poland, Spain, Italy and Germany would like to see a wider variety of sports and energy drinks made with natural colourings and flavours.
The thirst for more natural energy drinks is evident even in China where 40% of the consumers said they would be encouraged to buy a sport or energy drink product made from natural ingredients.
Manufacturers have been quick to respond. Some 7% of energy drinks launched globally last year carried an organic claim, up from 4% in 2011. Organic innovation continued to climb: So far this year, said Mintel, as many as 6% of global launches have carried an organic claim, with Europe leading the way.