NEW YORK — Innovation, says Monster Beverage Corp., may be what sets the energy drink maker apart from some of its competitors.
“If you look at the brands from 5-Hour, Rockstar, Nos and Full Throttle, you can see they just generally have been pretty much treading water and not really making any real progress or real impact in the category,” said Rodney Sacks, chairman and chief executive officer, during a Jan. 7 investor meeting. “There is a very large gap between Red Bull and our brand and the rest of the category that really just continues to widen.”
With last year’s launches of a high-protein energy shake line and a zero-calorie brand extension, the company said it continues to expand its consumer base.
“Our basic core consumer is still, we believe, 18- to 34-year-old, primarily a male consumer,” Mr. Sacks said. “But the expansion of our product lineup has brought in we believe additional consumers, more female and older. And as those products continue to grow, we believe that will continue to happen.”
Last year, Monster marked its entry into the protein drink category with Muscle Monster energy shakes in chocolate, vanilla, coffee, strawberry and limited-edition peanut butter cup flavors.
“Within the first six months, Muscle Monster achieved a 20.3% dollar share and is the No. 2 brand in the protein drink category,” Mr. Sacks said.
Adding to Monster’s diet portfolio, Monster Energy Ultra drinks are marketed as lighter-tasting and less sweet than the brand’s other reduced-calorie products.
On tap for a 2014 launch is Punch, a reformulation of Monster’s DUB Edition line with a new flavor and new positioning.
“…the DUB Edition was a more specialized product and has just been more difficult for us to obtain extensive distribution of the DUB line throughout the U.S.,” Mr. Sacks said. “We believe that the Punch product as a brand and as a sub line will appeal to a far broader audience of consumers. It will help us expand and grow on the initial DUB line, and we believe that with the increased new formulation and a completely new product positioning for the product, … we can look forward to positive growth from this line later this year.”
Forthcoming innovation for the company’s Peace Tea brand of iced teas includes a juice cocktail line with mango as the first flavor.
“We will see how they do, and we will determine further expansion,” Mr. Sacks said. “We are looking at additional innovation on the Peace Tea brand in 2014, as well.”
Additionally, he said, a kale soda will debut as a promotional flavor from the company’s Hansen’s Natural banner of soft drinks and juices.“So when you look back at innovation, we think we have three strong sub lines as such where we are going to get the benefit of the effect of those three fully in 2014,” Mr. Sacks said. “Just to launch a single product, it takes time to get it established, get it listed, get it on the shelf. We are at a second stage of that but I think that is more important for the company than the first stage.”