Natural Foods Merchandiser

Be a sport

The sports-nutrition market may look like fun when you're watching from the sidelines, but for those in the game it's rough and tumble and no place for sissies. Here's what to look for in the coming season.

Good things, small packages
As the energy-drink category begins to plateau, manufacturers are looking for a replacement, and that may come in the form of ‘energy shots.'

The Japanese functional-beverages market has been delivering bioactives through 4-ounce (or less) portions for years, and it now seems these handy little products—such as Energize (iSatori), 5-Hour Energy (Living Essentials) and Jolt Endurance Shot (Wet Planet Beverages)—are all making headway in this developing area.

Flying in the face of Monster Energy (Hansen Natural Corp.) and mass-volume drinks, these convenient and long-acting beverages are going to find significant volume not only in the energy market but also as a delivery format across the board, including in beauty and weight loss.

Cutting back the buzz
Following a September 2008 study from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine that identified the potential dangers of caffeine intoxication, 100 scientists and physicians sent a letter to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration asking for more regulation of energy drinks marketed to young drinkers.

Although this is not a new area of research, the trial is one of the largest, and governments are watching the issue carefully. As an indication of tightening concern in this area, the European Union now requires that energy drinks have a ‘high-caffeine content' label. As such, 2009 may mark a turning point in the mass use of caffeine as the staple ingredient in such products or a change in delivery systems to enhance the effectiveness of lower-dose products.

—Mark J Tallon, Ph.D.

Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXX/number 1/p. 31

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