Say a product will provide an energy boost and put it into a simple 2- or 3-ounce format, and consumers are likely to buy it. At least that’s the premise behind the flood of energy shot products that have hit the U.S. market over the last year. Alacer Corp., makers of the popular Emergen-C powdered fizzy drink supplements, is the latest company to jump into the energy shot market, which Nutrition Business Journal estimates rung up $560 million in sales last year. “We have a healthy respect for the remarkable sales volume achieved by the market’s energy shot players,” said Alacer Corp. President and CEO Ron Fugate. “That’s why we have worked to bring something very special, a real breakthrough, to the energy shots and dietary supplement segments.”
Alacer began shipping three Emergen-C brand shot products to Wal-Mart, CVS, Rite Aid and other mass market retailers in July. Full distribution to all Emergen-C retailers will be completed in October. Two of Alacer’s Emergen-C shots are targeted to energy-seekers: Emergen-C Health & Energy Booster and Emergen-C Alert Energy & Focus Booster. But unlike some of the other energy shots on the market, Alacer’s offerings were not designed with teenage or college-age consumers in mind. “Our shots are targeted, not to people who want to have energy to party all night, but rather to those who want the energy to focus on the task at hand,” said Ken Vargha, Alacer vice president of sales and marketing. Alacer’s Emergen-C Alert shot contains green tea extract and vitamin B-12.
Known for its immune-support powdered offerings, Alacer also introduced an immunity shot called Emergen-C immune System Booster. This product provides 1,000 mg of vitamin C, zince and a blend of prebiotics. The formula taps into what NBJ sees as an emerging trend within the shot market: products that provide an efficacious dose of a condition-specific remedy. Healthy Brand Builders, the company run by beverage industry expert James Tonkin, is also releasing an immune-support shot product under the brand Coremune later this year. This product will feature the natural branded ingredient Wellmune.
Through a distribution partnership with Convenience Valet, Alacer Corp. is following the lead of the super-selling 5-Hour Energy by moving its shot products into convenience stores and gas stations. To date, the convenience channel has generated a large portion of energy shot sales, but the growing number of shot products moving into this channel is forcing some convenience retailers to cut down on how many shot brands they will carry. “Cash raps and small displays are not enough to hold the category,” said James Tonkin, principal of Healthy Brand Builders. “Eventually retailers may have to develop additional space to sell shots in the store.”
Alacer’s shot products will retail for $2.99 for a single shot or $4.99 for a double shot pack, making them competitively priced with other energy shot products on the market. Vargha said initial retailer enthusiasm for the Emergen-C shot products surpassed the company’s expectations. “We were surprised by the demand, which exceeded our initial capacity,” he added. “We are now back on track to supply everyone with as much product as they want.” Alacer will launch a national ad campaign for its new shot offerings in October. To learn more about Alacer, check out their company profile.
NBJ’s Sports Nutrition & Weight Loss issue, which publishes this month, includes an in-depth look at the energy shot market that features interviews with 5-Hour Energy, 6-Hour Power, Red Bull and other brands operating in the category. To order the issue, subscribe to NBJ or download a free 32-page sample issue, go to NBJ’s subscriber page.
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