Bottoms Up With Better-for-You Energy Drinks

Customers seek functional drinks for extra energy and brain boosts.

September 02, 2021

Mtn Dew Rise

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—When it comes to convenience-store beverage offerings, energy drinks are currently one of the highest performing products in terms of sales. These data align with the growing trend of consumers seeking out functional food and drinks that give added benefits, such as energy, cognitive or immunity assistance.

While energy drinks have long provided customers with the mental and physical boost they are crave, they’ve often been considered an unhealthy choice. But interest in healthier products has compelled manufacturers to produce energy drinks with better-for-you ingredients, reports

“The segment has had strong growth during the past year,” said Christine Dang, category manager, Thrive Market. “People are also very conscious about the sugar content within their energy drinks... Retailers are meeting these needs by rethinking the category and focusing on products that try to gear towards a lower percentage of added sugar and caffeine, while also re-looking at the ingredients and focusing on ones that are plant-based.”

Both legacy brands and brand-new businesses have heeded the call for lower-sugar energy drinks. For example, this year PepsiCo teamed up with NBA star LeBron James to launch Mtn Dew Rise, a new energy variety of the popular soda brand with no added sugar. The company claims that the beverage provides both mental and immune support.

Another new drink entry to the category is Rowdy Energy. Founded by NASCAR driver Kyle Busch and beverage entrepreneur Jeff Church, it was released last year. Even though the brand debuted during the pandemic, Rowdy saw strong 2020 sales and entered 2,000 retail locations, the company said. This year has also started well, with January sales exceeding all of 2020 sales.

Both the functional food category and a strong focus on health and wellness were prominent before COVID-19, but the pandemic further heightened these trends and made functional energy drinks even more popular.

For a look at the hottest brands driving sales in convenience stores, read “The Hot Sellers” in the July 2021 issue of NACS Magazine.

Register to attend the 2021 NACS Show October 5-8, at McCormick Place in Chicago and take advantage of the education sessions on category management, including these sessions developed by retailers for retailers: