Is the UK Energy Drinks Market too Crowded?
Energy drinks are now as much a common site in news agents and supermarkets as your old fashioned cans of Coke and Pepsi. Red Bull was the brand that of course made energy drinks the lucrative, universally popular FMCG that they are today, but it in turn created a niche which has exploded and diversified into an industry that turns over millions of pounds every year.
Red Bull have of course always had a clever marketing team, their ‘gives you wings’ campaign was simple and memorable, summing up the USP of the then unique beverage in one quotable utterance. Red Bull really came to the fore however through their sponsorship of sports and events. Initially the company peddled their product through extreme sports like BMXing and cliff-diving but in recent years they have gone more main stream, buying their own teams, most notably the 2010 title winning Formula one squad. This mass exposure really drove the message of the brand home and made it household name.
As we know, a good thing doesn’t hang around for long before it’s emulated by others, and if imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then Red Bull is the prom queen. In recent years new start ups, super market own brands and already established drinks companies have dipped a tentative toe into the realm of energy drinks. Now alongside Red Bull we see Monster, Relentless and Rockstar occupying the chiller shelves. The market is clearly over crowded.
Consumers now have so much to choose from, regular sugar free, bumper sized cans, miniature, super strength shots as well a range of flavours, Red Bull now even make their own Cola. It seems that the market has now got so big that some companies see value in targeting a sub-niche in the wider market that believe in the mind-altering effects of energy drinks.
Recent additions to the stable include a Bob-Markley Inspired drink that is said to ‘ease the mind’ and ‘Nuero’, a new series of drinks that claim to imbue the consumer with a range of different attributes, the range includes Neuro Sonic which claims to improve mental focus, Neuro Bliss, apparently containing ‘happiness in every bottle’, and Neuro Gasm, which I’m not inclined to speculate on!
The point is, the market is saturated with imitation products right now, most of which are packed with sugar and served in cans containing enough liquid to hydrate a small African village for a month. Manufacturers now assume they have an almost magic ability to manipulate the minds of consumers, preying on the naive beliefs of people looking for a hit akin to class-A drugs rather than the light buzz attained from the humble, traditional can of Red Bull.