Energy approaches £2bn landmark

Pwr-Bru range

The lure of energy drinks shows no signs of waning as the latest market data shows that total category sales are on course to reach £2bn for the first time in GB.

It’s hard to imagine a soft drinks category not dominated by energy drinks these days but it wasn’t that long ago that they were little more than a niche sub-segment. The journey has been remarkable and NIQ data from the end of 2023 showed that sales of energy drinks in GB had reached £1.95bn.

The sustained growth of the sector has been driven largely by the arrival of new flavours, enhanced functionality and zero sugar options.

“With innovation key to increasing sales, retailers must stock up on the latest launches that are going to capture consumers’ attention,” says Amy Burgess, Senior Trade Communications Manager at Coca-Cola Europacific Partners (CCEP), the company behind the market-leading Monster brand.

“Monster is leading the way when it comes to innovation in energy – 60% of NPD energy drink sales over the last year have come from the Monster brand [NIQ total year 2023]. HFSS-compliant Monster Ultra is the number one zero sugar energy brand in GB, offering consumers a lighter energy option with epic fresh flavours. This has also been joined by Monster Zero Sugar which offers the same iconic and full-flavoured taste of Monster Original but with no calories and no sugar.”

The Monster Juiced range, meanwhile, delivers “full flavoured energy packed with personality” and is growing by 27% in value, now worth over £256.4m in GB, according to the same data. Star of the show is Monster Juiced Mango Loco, the leading flavoured energy drink in GB and worth a huge £82.2m.

With NPD so important to the category, CCEP has continued to evolve the Monster range with the launch already in 2024 of two new flavours: Monster Reserve Orange Dreamsicle and Monster Juiced Bad Apple.

In addition, new price-marked multipacks of the popular Monster Juiced Mango Loco and Monster Zero Sugar Lewis Hamilton lines were unveiled at the start of this year.

While new innovations remain critical, traditional energy drinks still remain extremely popular with Monster Original still CCEP’s flagship offering, worth £126.6m in retail. This underscores the importance of maintaining a robust core product range alongside stocking new launches.

One interesting development over the last few years has been growth in the number of consumers looking for drinks with added benefits to fuel them during their workout, which is why performance energy drinks are growing in popularity.

CCEP’s Reign Total Body Fuel is helping push that sub-sector forward. It contains 200mg of naturally sourced caffeine with a recipe enriched with branched-chain amino acids, and vitamins B3, B6 and B12, which may contribute to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue to a normal energy-yielding metabolism.

Last year CCEP expanded its range with the launch of Reign Mang-o-matic, tapping into the popularity of mango-flavoured drinks.

Raw focus

In Scotland, the energy drinks market is the biggest and most profitable drink-now segment, now worth £1.8bn and growing at +13%. To put that another way, one in every three soft drinks sold in convenience stores is an energy drink, with Big Can energy driving the category growth at +17% [IRI Marketplace, March 2024].

“The current economic landscape and subsequent cost-of-living concerns have resulted in almost 30% of consumers looking for lower cost alternatives,” says Jonathan Kemp, Commercial Director at AG Barr. “Financial pressures have also driven demand for own-label products to record levels across many categories. However, energy is bucking the trend as 97% of sales are from brands, showing that branded energy drinks remain the clear choice for shoppers.”

AG Barr has been helping drive that welcome trend through its Rubicon Raw brand which Kemp says has been driving incremental sales and bringing more shoppers into the category.

“A third of Rubicon Raw sales are from new entrants to energy, whilst 70% of Raw shoppers are making it a repeat purchase [Kantar Dec 2022],” says Kemp.

“Since launching in May last year, Apple & Guava has exceeded all sales expectations, selling over 1.1 million cans since launch and quickly establishing itself as the number-one apple flavoured energy drink in the market [IRI, Mar 2023].”

Kemp believes growth in flavoured energy is linked to changing consumer needs and shoppers looking to the category to be exciting and varied to keep them engaged. “Rubicon Raw delivers on taste and exciting, interesting flavours allowing retailers to invigorate their energy fixture and drive incremental sales,” he advises. “The energy drinks market remains one of the most profitable for retailers and Rubicon Raw has quickly established itself as a must-stock brand within it. Selling more than 35 million cans since launch, it’s become the second most successful innovation launch within soft drinks [IRI Apr 2021-Apr 2023].”

Boost it

AG Barr-owned Boost Drinks has recently set out its stall for further growth with a dynamic brand refresh featuring eye-catching new packaging. The revised pack designs add shelf appeal and also highlight the brand’s strong value proposition, offering high cash margins for retailers and great pricing for consumers.

The brand’s lozenge logo remains but now enjoys a subtle modern twist, a streamlined design approach that gives each product a slicker and more refined look.

Boost Drinks is the sole brand to hold a top-three position in three distinct categories within the Functional Drinks market – Energy Stimulation, Sports Drinks and RTD Iced Coffee [IRI, Dec 2023].

Adrian Hipkiss, Commercial Director at Boost Drinks, said: ” Our latest brand refresh is a testament to our dedication of staying ahead of the curve and reflects our commitments to innovation. The new pack designs offer an exciting new visual identity for consumers to enjoy, whilst feeling assured that they will be enjoying the same great taste and value they’ve come to know and love.”

Tickled pink

Following the continued success and growth of its Editions range, Red Bull is launching a new permanent Sugarfree Edition this summer. Red Bull Pink Edition Sugarfree combines the tastes of raspberry and other forest fruits complemented by herbal notes of verbena. It is the second new variant introduced by the brand this year and the first fully sugar-free flavour in its portfolio, aiming to attract new shoppers to the category.

Some 2.8 million people already buy into the Red Bull Editions brand, representing seven-fold growth in just two years.

Red Bull Pink Edition Sugarfree is available in 250ml (£1.55), 355ml (£1.95) and 4 x 250ml (£5) can pack formats.

Out of the blue

New from Rockstar Energy is a no-sugar Blueberry variant, now available in PMP format. The launch aims to broaden the brand’s appeal by offering a further no-sugar option, and the blueberry flavour is designed to appeal to even more shoppers – with a subtle taste to recruit older consumers to the category, while retaining Rockstar’s core 18-35 fan base.

Ben Parker, Britvic’s Retail Commercial Director, says: “No Sugar Blueberry allows retailers to strengthen their energy range and capture the attention of even more shoppers in-store. Providing a flavoursome, non-sugar choice is key to making the most of the category, which shows no signs of slowing down. Also available in a price-marked can, No Sugar Blueberry not only delivers an interesting and in-demand flavour, but also offers shoppers great value.”

The launch is being supported by out-of-home media, sampling, in-store activations, and a strategic combination of PR and influencer initiatives.

PWR to the people

Barr Soft Drinks recently helped power up the Scottish energy market with the launch of Pwr-Bru – a distinctive new energy brand from the House of Irn-Bru.

“The energy market in Scotland is a fast-growing sector, delivering one-third of total soft drinks category growth [Circana, May 2023], however only 25% of shoppers currently buy energy brands so there is still huge growth potential [Kantar, May 2023],” said Jonathan Kemp, Commercial Director at AG Barr at the time.

Barr Soft Drinks partnered with independent convenience retailers in Scotland to examine how the range has performed in-store from launch.

Dennis Williams, of Broadway Premier Convenience Store Edinburgh introduced all four varieties and has been selling six cases a week.

“It’s doing really well for us,” says Dennis. “Our shoppers always love new products and we’re seeing Pwr-Bru attract a mix of existing energy drink shoppers and consumers who didn’t buy into the category before.

“Our bestsellers are Original and Berry and I’m finding that the price mark is very effective at communicating good value.”

It’s a similar story at Saleem Sadiq’s Spar store in Renfrew. “Our shoppers really like it and I think it’s a launch that will certainly keep delivering for us,” says Saleem.

“We were really pleased with the level of the support we received from Barr. They even sent reps to our store to hand out samples and drive engagement.”

The Pwr-Bru range consists of the Original IRN-BRU flavour as well as three knockout fruity flavours with distinctive names; ‘Diablo’ Cherry, ‘Origin’ Original, ‘Maverick’ Berry and ‘Dropkick’ Tropical. Non-HFSS and levy-free, Pwr-Bru is available in plain and price-marked (£1.19) 500ml cans.

Sales are set to benefit further this summer thanks to a new and exclusive competition through May and June. which will see five lucky Pwr-Bru drinkers jet off to Croatia on an all-inclusive holiday for two. The competition is featured on eye-catching POS and AG Barr advises retailers to display this prominently to maximise this opportunity to drive sales.

  |    |    |    |    |    |    |    |  

Share on  

Read next

This publication contains images and information relating to tobacco products. Please do not view if you are under the age of 18 years old.

This website contains images and information relating to tobacco products. Please do not view if you are under 18 years of age.

This website contains images and information relating to tobacco products. Please do not view if you are under 18 years of age.

This publication contains images and information relating to tobacco products. Please do not view if you are under the age of 18 years old.