It is widely accepted that energy drink products have moved beyond “trend” status, and have become their own established category of products. Although we have seen concerns arise over the ingredients and levels of caffeine in these products, their sales continue to climb and more drink companies keep jumping into the competition for market share. As a result, Coca-Cola continues to diversify their ready-to-drink product portfolio with a new line of energy drinks called “Coca-Cola Energy.”
These new drinks made their debut in Europe in April with the expectation they will be as successful as other legacy products the company has released over the years to stay relevant with changing consumer preferences.
This is a smart move by the world’s largest soft drink company for several reasons. First of all, the energy drink category was simply too big to ignore. Finding a way to create a variation of their signature flavor profile that acquired the attributes of energy drinks seems a no-brainer. Coke already has a massive built-in audience of consumers that spans every generation.
Their credibility, built-in distribution network, endless capital and marketing deals gives these drinks an instant chance of success. If consumers give these products a chance, which seems likely, Coca-Cola could be instantly become a major player in the energy drink category. Especially if this product succeeds in Europe and expands into the US and other major markets.
Over the past several years, health has been the driving force behind most of the changes we have seen in the food and beverage industries. This has pulled the health risks of consuming too much sugar and caffeine into focus for consumers who are label-conscious.
Javier Meza, the Global Chief Marketing Officer for Coca-Cola, recently discussed these new energy drink products, revealing why they align with many of the top trends we see in the food and beverage industry. Meza says Coca-Cola has made “over 500 sugar reductions across [their] entire portfolio” over recent years. They even offer a sugar free option of Coca-Cola Energy for these sugar conscious consumers. Meza says the amount of caffeine per serving is the equivalent of two shots of espresso, which shouldn’t scare away the average energy drink consumer.
These soft drink and energy drink variations exemplify “The Adventurous Consumer” and “Alternatives to All” top trends for 2019. Coca-Cola offers a great example for large food companies in every food and beverage category to study and follow. They are adapting to consumers’ changing preferences and are quick to enact change and take risks with product variations.
The Coca-Cola company also understands that sustainability is very important for all companies, large and small, to promote in today’s marketplace. That’s why they regularly publish and update their yearly sustainability goals to show the steps they are taking to reduce their footprint and preserve the earth for future generations of Coke drinkers.
Coca-Cola Energy hit the shelves in Spain and Hungary first, with more markets on deck for later on in 2019 and 2020. As they continue to rollout these products and introduce them to consumers, it will be interesting to see how other soft drink companies respond. It would not be surprising if Pepsi, Coke’s main competitor, was putting the finishing touches on their own line of energy drinks right now.