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    Energy Drink Segment to Surge: Study

    The study from Mintel also concludes that energy drink buzz will spill over into food, snacks, and candy.

    The energy drink market has grown more than 400 percent since 2003, and the increasing number of energy drink consumers will drive continued growth in the segment in coming years, according to a study by market research firm Mintel.

    "Energy drinks have quickly become a daily beverage choice," said Krista Faron, senior new product analyst at Mintel. "As more Americans use energy drinks, we've seen a rise in products being launched with innovative new ingredients, claims, and consumer targets."

    According to the research from the Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD), in 2003, only 9 percent of adult respondents to Mintel's survey said they drank energy drinks. In 2008, the figure was 15 percent. And teens have picked up energy drinks even faster. Mintel's latest survey of teenagers revealed 35 percent regularly consume energy drinks, up from 19 percent in 2003.

    The number of product launches in the segment has grown to meet the demand. Mintel GNPD tracked just 80 new U.S. energy drink launches in 2003. In 2007, that number grew to 187; and already in 2008, more than 270 new energy drinks launched in the U.S.

    Mintel found that "energy" is expanding beyond the aluminum can.

    "Energy bars are familiar to many Americans," said Faron. "But other energized foods, such as candy, chips, milk, and cereal, are definitely not. We expect the concept of 'energy'--both physical and mental--to greatly influence food product development."

    Indeed, the research showed that ingredients found in energy drinks -- Ginseng, guarana and taurine-- are now appearing in snacks like NRG Phoenix Fury chips with taurine or Full Charge sunflower seeds with ginseng and guarana.

    Caffeine is also emerging in foods from energy bars to cereals, such as Morning Spark's caffeine-fortified instant oatmeal. Superfruits, recognized for high antioxidant content, are now added to foods for mental and physical performance benefits. "Energy is poised to take food in a new direction, giving consumers who need a boost many different ways to get it," said Faron.

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