KANSAS CITY —Reducing sugar and bitterness in products, as well as sustaining energy, are ways that the energy drink category could keep surging.

Future Markets Insights, Pune, India, forecast the global energy drink market to have a compound annual growth rate of 7% from 2022 to 2032, reaching $98.8 billion.

“The market for energy drinks is driven by a large consumer base comprised of all ages and growing focus on health and fitness,” the report said. “Natural energy drinks that are extracted and directly sold to consumer are gaining traction among fitness enthusiasts while sports energy drinks are popular among e-sports players and gamers.”

Western Europe and the United States will continue to dominate the energy drinks market over the 10-year period, and Asia Pacific will emerge as a lucrative market, according to the report.

Sugar and caffeine tend to be the main ingredients in energy drinks.

“Sugar acts as a source of energy while caffeine is a stimulant that increases alertness and energy,” the report said.

Those two ingredients create some headwinds for the category, however. Seventy-three percent of respondents in the 2022 Food and Health Survey from the International Food Information Council said they either were trying to limit or avoid sugars. Higher levels of caffeine may make drinks too bitter.

PepsiCo’s investment

Celsius Holdings, Inc., Boca Raton, Fla., offers sugar-free energy drinks containing 2,000 mg of L-citrulline and 300 mg of caffeine. Green tea extracts in the drinks have a specific ratio of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) to help boost metabolism and burn calories. The seeds, instead of the roots, of guarana contain over twice the amount of caffeine than the average coffee bean, according to Celsius. Ginger root provides a spicy flavor and positively affects the digestive system. B vitamins help with energy and help regulate metabolism. Vitamin C aids the immune system.

“Our proprietary formula provides proven functional benefits, including both calorie and fat burning validated through peer-reviewed clinical trials,” said John Fieldly, president and chief executive officer of Celsius Holdings, in an Aug. 1 call to discuss an investment from PepsiCo, Inc. “Celsius is made with healthier ingredients such as ginger, green tea and seven essential vitamins with no sugar, aspartame, artificial colors or flavors, and certified gluten-free, non-GMO.”

PepsiCo, Purchase, NY, on Aug. 1 invested $550 million to acquire an 8.5% ownership stake in Celsius Holdings (see Page 18 for related story). PepsiCo will become the preferred distribution partner globally for Celsius.

“This partnership grants us access to new consumption occasions through diversified channel exposure, where we will gain meaningful penetration across channels such as foodservice, independent convenience, vending, college campuses, concessions and the military, allowing us to reach new customers and occasions by leveraging our unique product versatility that caters to all times of the day and night, unlike many of our competitors,” said Jarrod Langhans, chief financial officer for Celsius Holdings.

Another sugar-free energy drink will debut in 2022. Monster Beverage Corp., Corona, Calif., plans to launch Monster Energy Zero Sugar in the fourth quarter, initially in the United States.

“Monster Energy Zero Sugar was specifically developed as an indistinguishable zero sugar analog of our original unique Monster Energy Green flavor,” said Rodney C. Sacks, c0-chief executive officer, in an Aug 4 earnings call to discuss second-quarter results. “We are excited about the opportunity that this product will provide to our Monster consumers who have come to enjoy the unique taste profile of our original Monster Green flavor, which remains our leading flavor.”

Mr. Sacks in the call pointed to Nielsen data showing US sales in the energy drink category rose by over 8% for the 13 weeks ended July 23 when compared to the same period a year ago. The data covered convenience stores, grocery stores, drug stores and mass merchandisers.

Sustaining energy

Bioenergy Life Science, Inc., Ham Lake, Minn., offers Bioenergy Ribose, calling it a “healthy” sugar that helps sustain energy.

Ribose is sweet because it is a monosaccharide, said Marianne McDonagh, vice president of sales for Bioenergy Life Science. Bioenergy Ribose is about 60% as sweet as table sugar, but it is metabolized differently than table sugar, she said. It lowers blood glucose levels instead of raising them. Bioenergy ribose, a five-carbon sugar instead of a six-carbon sugar, is absorbed completely and not stored as fat.

“Simply put, it utilizes a different metabolic pathway compared with most sugars,” Ms. McDonagh said. “Ribose acts upon our blood sugar and increases the rate at which glucose is absorbed.”

Not all ribose is the same in terms of sweetness, she added.

“Bioenergy Ribose is consistently white with a sweet taste while other ribose is slightly yellow with an alcohol taste due to how it’s manufactured,” she said.

Adding Bioenergy Ribose to any application enables human cells to have adequate levels of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the molecule that delivers energy to cells, Ms. McDonagh said.

“Some people are unaware that the body relies on ATP (ribose) to absorb any ingredient,” she said. “Without it, the ingredients are not being absorbed, and you will end up secreting them out.”

Ribose keeps levels of ATP steady, which helps create sustainable energy.

“Imagine ATP as your vehicle and D-Ribose as gasoline for your vehicle,” Ms. McDonagh said. “The two don’t work without each other. Ribose is naturally present in every living cell, but the process to produce it is very slow, especially in the heart and muscle tissues.

“Keep in mind having enough ATP is not an easy task, especially as we age. It is even more difficult when you add exposure to environmental toxins, insufficient diets, lack of exercise, illness and other life conditions.”

Potential applications for Bioenergy Ribose include beverages, ready-to-drink beverages, plant-based items, yogurt, baked foods, oatmeal, gummies, confectionery items and gum, she said.

The US Food and Drug Administration in a Nov. 10, 2008, letter said it had no questions about the Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) status of D-ribose as an ingredient in food. Bioenergy manufactured D-ribose by the controlled fermentation of a non-sporulating variant strain of B. subtillis ATCC 21951, according to the letter.

Bioenergy Ribose does not contain caffeine, but it works well with caffeine.

“Bioenergy Ribose has been clinically proven to improve the efficiency of caffeine while removing the unwanted side effects, like the crash you feel after it wears off,” Ms. McDonagh said. “It also extends the benefits of caffeine by smoothing out the energy and helping it last longer.”

Less bitter caffeine

FutureCeuticals, Momence, Ill., offers Coffeeberry energy, a fully soluble powder with natural caffeine for use in ready-to-mix beverages, ready-to-drink beverages, pre-workout products, e-sports products, snack bars, yogurts, gummies, capsules and tablets, said Ryan Wories, director of marketing for FutureCeuticals.

Derived from whole coffee cherry, it is concentrated and standardized to deliver 70% natural caffeine and 5% antioxidant polyphenols.

“We standardized Coffeeberry energy to 70% caffeine in order to deliver a consistent and highly concentrated amount of caffeine while also providing a natural and clean source that does not use any harsh solvents or chemicals during the manufacturing process,” Mr. Wories said. “Coffeeberry energy is also standardized to 5% antioxidant polyphenols, which are phenolic compounds naturally found within the coffee cherry and known to help protect our bodies from the negative effects of free radicals and oxidative stress.

“In a recent sensory analysis these antioxidant compounds were also believed to help significantly reduce the overall bitterness profile of our Coffeeberry energy powder against that of synthetic caffeine.”