Imbibe Shares Insight into Differentiation in the Energy Drink Space

 In Nutritional Outlook

energy drinksThe energy products shelf is increasingly characterized by shared values, personal health, and sustainability.

Energy drinks, as a category, are hot and cool. Hot because the category is ripe for upstarts and newbies, those with a dream to quench their creative and entrepreneurial thirsts. And cool because those startups often enter the market with a plan to help save the planet in the process.

Not that the big guys and those already entrenched in the category are going anywhere soon. As Erin Costello, communications and events associate, Imbibe (Niles, IL), puts it, “While the top runners in this space might not be giving up their thrones just yet, this category has welcomed a number of brands that offer modernized options.” As an example, she mentions Ghost1, whose marketing copy for its energy drinks is as snappy as the drinks themselves. According to Costello’s read from market researcher IRI (Chicago) data, Ghost experienced a 1,505% increase in energy drink sales in the 52 weeks ending April 17, 2022.

Imbibe, no stranger to experience, is coming up on its 60th anniversary next year. With as many specialties—maybe more—as Dr. Addison Montgomery, the super-credentialed, super-fictional surgeon from Grey’s Anatomy, Imbibe wears a lot of hats. And all of them seem to fit well. The beverage innovation leader, drink developer, and more recently ingredient supplier (with its launch last year of Ingredients by Imbibe, a platform that offers the company’s ingredients to external R&D teams) is also a supplier of trends thanks to its Trendspotting blog.2 Says Costello, “As we’re making our way through 2022, rather than seeing a lot of the trends shift, we’re seeing expansion in these areas with new concepts popping into categories like canned cocktails, coffee, carbonated soft drinks, and more.”

Moreover, Costello advises, “We’re noticing this same trend in energy drinks, with plant-based being highlighted as an attribute of energy drinks and this category targeting additional need states like immunity, cognitive support, and added vitamins.”

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