The energy drink category, which has enjoyed double-digit sales and unit growth for several years, faces increasing scrutiny from the Food and Drug Administration.
The FDA has said it will consider requiring companies to disclose the amount of caffeine in the drinks and add warnings about possible side effects on labeling.
Now Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill.; Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn.; and Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., ramped up the issue with a letter sent to the manufacturers of 14 energy drink brands, urging them to release ingredient information on the amounts of stimulants used and to provide data on any health and marketing claims made by the products.
Does regulation loom on the horizon? "A lot of politicians are pushing for changes in caffeine disclosure, and there is some risk that they could push for further restrictions, such as age-gating," said Thomas Mullarkey, an analyst at Morningstar. "The caffeine disclosure is possible, but restrictions could open the gate to regulating coffee — and that is never going to happen."
So far, the controversy has not had much of an impact on category sales. "There hasn't been any impact. Value and volume continue to grow in the category, suggesting that consumers aren't fazed by this," Mullarkey said.
The article above is part of the DSN Category Review Series. For the complete Beverages Buy-In Report, including extensive charts, data and more analysis, click here.