According to global research firm Mintel, the U.S. energy drink market is expected to grow by an estimated 52% from 2014 to 2019 after experiencing 56% growth from 2009 to 2014. And it has been older Millennials and U.S. parents leading the way as energy drink consumers. Mintel expects the energy drink market to reach $10.8 billion this year alone.
However, growing health concerns are developing regarding the safety of energy drinks and what affects they have on your body. When it comes to cutting back on energy drinks, health and cost are the leading reasons. In fact, 39% of Americans say energy drinks are not good for their health and 35% say they have heard negative information about the health effects.
“Manufacturers must address these health issues in order to retain current users, while concerns about price should be addressed by promotions and limited-time discounts,” said Jenny Zegler, Global Food and Drink Analyst for Mintel Food & Drink.
This is where opportunity lies for hemp infused products to start gaining market share of this fast growing industry. If health concerns are the main reason consumers choose not to purchase energy drinks, adding hemp to the mix and reducing caffeine levels could put weary consumers at ease. And with the country’s increasing acceptance of marijuana, 58% now in favor of legalization, hemp infused energy drinks could ‘fuel’ the energy drink market’s growth.
Hemp is rich in protein, carbohydrates, minerals, fiber, and has high levels of vitamins A, C, and E. The super food also contains an ideal ratio of omega-6, omega-3, and omega-9 fatty acids. The protein and fiber in hemp combine to slow digestion, which prevents spikes in blood sugar and, therefore, sustains your body’s energy. Meaning, a hemp infused energy drink could cut back caffeine levels while being just as, if not more, effective at providing a long-lasting energy boost. One elderly woman even reported cleaning her entire house after consuming her first serving of hemp seeds. She said it was her first abundance of energy in 20 years.
The Big Boys or The Bad Boys?
Leading energy drink producers are coming under fire for misleading claims about having a unique combination of ingredients to boost energy, whereas the only effective ingredient is a highly concentrated dose of caffeine. Oregon, Washington, and Vermont have already filed lawsuits against energy shot titan 5-Hour Energy® for making such claims. The lawsuits are the result of an investigation launched in 2012 by 33 states, in which Oregon, Tennessee, Maryland and Vermont have taken the lead.
5-Hour Energy® dominates the energy shot market earning over $1 billion in sales in 2015 compared to just over $17 million for second best Stacker 2 Xtra.
In 2013, the FDA launched an investigation into 92 patients that included 33 hospitalizations and 13 deaths linked to 5-Hour Energy®. Similarly, Monster Energy® has been subject to an FDA investigation as the energy drink company was being tied to five deaths and one heart attack. Monster Energy® controls about 39% of the energy drink market with nearly $2.5 billion in sales in 2014 behind only Red Bull® at over $2.8 billion for the same year. No charges have been made against either company as regulators are still “looking into” the products’ safety.
Hemp the Superfood
But the benefits of hemp go beyond merely sustaining energy. Hemp helps lower blood pressure by reducing inflammation and improving circulation, factors of primary importance in the cure and prevention of many diseases. Hemp also improves digestion and is especially beneficial for people with food allergies that cannot eat gluten, lactose, sugar, fish, nuts, meat, and other common foods.
Including hemp in your diet can also aid in natural weight loss. Hemp is packed with essential fats, proteins, vitamins, and vital nutrients reducing hunger and cravings for foods with stimulants like sugar, starches, and saturated fats. Some consumers even report losing up to a pound a day.
Hemp is cholesterol free and actually helps to lower cholesterol levels. The super food contains the optimum ration of polyunsaturated essential fatty acids, Omega 3 and 6. And the abundance of lean protein found in hemp naturally balances blood sugars. The glucagon released when you eat protein helps keep insulin in check.
The global energy drink market is expected to reach $61 Billion by 2021 at a CAGR of 5.8%. A significant increase in the number of athletes and sports persons likely to support energy drinks will help fuel market growth in the near future. Energy drinks are being marketed as an important alternative to carbonated drinks therefore; there is a significant increase in the number of people switching from carbonated drinks to energy drinks over the last few years.
The addition of hemp could catapult the energy drink market to even greater values as one of the biggest restraints on the industry is the potential health risks associated. Hemp allows a product to contain much less caffeine while still effectively providing a long-lasting energy boost. Factor in the extra health benefits of hemp as a superfood, and we could see the entire perception on energy drinks shift to one potentially even more profitable than the industry already is.