NBJ believes that two forces are at work on today’s energy drink market. One is maturing sales due to slowed distribution growth. The other force is a growing concern in health professionals (and some consumers) regarding the amount of caffeine being consumed by Americans on a daily basis. Both forces will act to further slow the growth of or contract the size of the energy drink/caffeinated beverage market.
Like marijuana, one cup of caffeine consumption ain’t what it was 20 years ago. Coffee has been brewed and introduced to consumers with higher and higher caffeine levels. In fact, scientists at the University of Florida College of Medicine found a 16-ounce serving off Starbucks regular contained 259 milligrams of caffeine, but varied up to 564 milligrams on other days – almost as much as three maximum-strength NoDoz tablets.
In addition, younger consumers are drinking energy drinks, like Red Bull, that contain up to 80 milligrams of caffeine per 8.2-ounce serving. Competitors to Red Bull looking to challenge the energy drink market’s 800-pound gorilla upped the ante and pushed the market towards larger cans. Today, AMP Tall Boy Energy drink packs 143 milligrams in a 16-ounce can. For reference, a Coca-Cola Classic contains 35 milligrams in 12-ounces.
This week, Dr. Richard Church, a toxicologist at the Massachusetts Medical School released a report that studied calls to American Association of Poison Control Centers in 2005 (the most recent data available). He found that in 2005, 4,600 caffeine-related emergency calls were placed to poison control centers in the United States, 2,345 of these calls required treatment at health care facility and 2,600 involved patients younger than 19 years.