July 10, 2009

Jolts in a bottle now $700M market

Slugging down quick shots of a concentrated energy drink has now become a $700 million enterprise, a U.S. market research firm said.

Sales of small shots of caffeine-loaded drinks that typically come in 2-ounce bottles has almost doubled from the $370 million in business the energy shots rang up a year ago, Consumer Edge Research reported.

Sales of 16-ounce energy drinks, like Red Bull, have hit a plateau, The New York Times reported Friday. But energy shots are taking off.

Living Essentials, a Michigan firm, controls 80 percent of the market with with its product 5-Hour Energy, Consumer Edge Research said.

But competitors are hot on the trail.

Frequently with a bitter taste, new products like 6 Hour Power and Mr. Energy 9-hour Energy are finding their way into stores.

They typically boast a walloping dose of caffeine and essential vitamins, but New York University nutrition professor Marion Nestle said, it sounds like a great placebo to me.

And I'll bet you ask people and they say they feel better. It's got caffeine -- why not? she said.