New Flavors for Red Bull
The Austrian beverage company says it will launch its drink in cranberry, lime and blueberry this March, marking the first time the drink has been offered in flavors.
Red Bull's move comes at a critical time. Energy drinks remain a tiny part of the carbonated soft drinks market, representing just 3% of sales volume, but while soda consumption has flagged in recent years, energy drinks are growing by leaps and bounds.
Last year, sales volume for energy drinks rose by nearly 17%, with the top three players -- Monster, Red Bull and Rockstar -- all logging double-digit gains.
However, the industry is also facing growing scrutiny. This summer, New York state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman issued subpoenas to Monster Beverage Corp.; the maker of 5-Hour Energy, Living Essentials LLC; and PepsiCo Inc., which makes AMP energy drinks.
Although the details have not been disclosed, the probe is examining how the drinks are made and marketed. The Center for Science in the Public Interest, which advocates for food safety, has noted that energy drinks are often labeled as having additives that provide dubious health benefits.
A representative for Red Bull wasn't immediately available for comment. However, in a press release announcing its fruity flavors, the company noted that its drink "improves performance, especially during times of increased stress or strain, increases concentration and improves reaction speed, and stimulates metabolism."
The company said the drinks will be sold in 8.4oz. cans and four-packs. Red Bull already comes in a sugar-free version and a zero-calorie version, which was introduced earlier this year.
With 30% of the market in terms of sales volume, Red Bull is the second-largest player in the market. Monster is number one, with 35%, and Rockstar is number three with 19%. Coca-Cola Co. and PepsiCo are far smaller players in the arena, with about 5% each.