Mitsue Konishi, senior innovation analyst at Datamonitor, told ConfectioneryNews that the energy drink market continued to flourish after registering a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) globally of 8.62% between 2009 and 2013.
“However, in my point of view, energy drink manufacturers may struggle in the near future on how to differentiate their brands from others; currently there are so many similar products with similar features.”
Pastures new for energy drink players
She said that well-established brands had already begun to expand into chews and gums to strengthen their brand position.
Muscle Milk, originally a protein drink brand, recently moved into functional confectionery with a range of energy chews that contain a blend of carbohydrates and electrolytes.
Another drink brand, Dark Dog, also released an energy chewing gum in France that contains taurine, caffeine, and guarana. PepsiCo’s Gatorade also has Prime Energy Chews in its G Series range.
Konishi said that energy chews may have improved efficacy over energy drinks based on conversations with scientists. She added that the confectionery format could fit in pockets and could be accessed at anytime, anywhere throughout the day.
Still room for caffeinated products
Improved efficacy in confectionery?
Private label gum maker Fertin Pharma previously told us that functional ingredients in gum were absorbed in the buccal cavity in the mouth rather than the gastrointestinal system for drinks and supplements, meaning the effect took a few minutes compared to around 30-40 minutes.
Many of the energy chew launches feature taurine and B-vitamins. But Konishi said that there was still a place for caffeine in energy confectionery, despite Wrigley halting production of its Alert Energy Caffeine Gum pending a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) investigation on the safety of added caffeine.
“Controversially, I think caffeine resonates with consumer well, although caffeine avoidance is becoming an on-going trend by seeing launches of caffeine-free products. As coffee gives you a quick kick of energy because of its caffeine content, consumers generally see the connection between caffeine and an energy boost stronger than other ingredients.”
According to Datamonitor Consumers’ Consumer Survey 2014, 16% of global consumers are very or extremely concerned about high caffeine intakes. Konishi said the figure was relatively low when compared with concerns over nutrient deficiencies and sugar consumption.
‘Lack of innovation’
“However, there is lack of significant innovation in my opinion, as most energy chewing gum/chew/candy mimic energy drinks featuring similar ingredients, such as caffeine, taurine, the B group of vitamins.”
She said Honey Droplet’s 100% manuka honey lozenges was a departure from the norm that could tap into rising demand for functional confectionery.
“This does not directly work for energy boosting but the component is all natural. Also Manuka honey has already resonated well with consumers as healthy honey for wellbeing.”