How Organic Energy Drinks fit into the Beverage Industry

The energy drink industry is one of the fastest-growing beverage markets. Just one look at the fridge in any grocery store or service station is enough to see just how many energy drinks are available to consumers, all promising different things and heralding new benefits. 

Even big players like Coca-Cola and PepsiCo have dived into the energy drink space, because of the sheer amount of consumer demand for them. 

Energy drinks are technically part of the broader soft drink category, which also includes soda, juice, bottled water, and sports drinks. You may have already guessed, but the majority of energy drinks are consumed by men between 18 and 34.

While names like Monster, Red Bull, and Rockstar dominate the industry, there is still a lot of space for smaller brands to make a splash and stand out on shelves. It’s about figuring out what consumers want, and what the big names are failing to do. 

A group of people exercising outside on a sunny day

Energy drink market 101

Let’s start with the basics. Why do consumers buy energy drinks?

  • To feel more alert, perhaps after a big night or before work
  • To enhance physical performance before exercise
  • To improve concentration while working or studying
  • To recover after exercise and get a boost of energy
  • As an alternative to coffee

Trend forecasters are expecting that in the next few years, there’ll be a growing demand for plant-based energy drinks, beverages with nootropic energy for mental clarity, and a broader range of exotic flavors. 

So where do organic energy drinks fit into this industry?

The food and drink industry as a whole has been shifting in the past few years, with more of a focus on health and the planet. 

This is a result of the pandemic, for sure, compounded by our high-pressured and high-stress lifestyles. People still want to get that energy boost, but they also want to feel good about their choices.

The organic market for energy drinks is emerging in the US and Europe, and it's set to be fast-growing. But by virtue of being organic, sometimes you just can't compete on price, especially compared to massive names like Red Bull. 

So you have to set your energy drink CPG apart –– why should consumers pay a higher price tag for your product?

How to appeal as an organic energy drink brand

Basically, there are two key things to set you apart as an organic energy drink brand: health and the environment. People will tend to care more about their own health, and then secondarily about the environment. But combine the two, and you’ve got a perfect selling point.

Let’s look at the health aspect of energy drinks first. These are the ingredients that are trending right now, thanks to their beneficial properties and general buzziness –– no pun intended.

Vitamin B

The most popular B Vitamins added to energy drinks are Vitamin B3 (Niacin), Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine), and Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin). These B vitamins are mostly found in animal products, so getting them as a supplement in an energy drink is great for those with a plant-based diet. 

Vitamin B is required by the body to convert food into energy and maintain proper cell function. Low levels of these vitamins can lead to anemia and fatigue.

Red vitamins tablets laid out on a table, creating an abstract image

Zero added sugar

Diet options have always been popular, with people wanting to avoid drinking calorific beverages. But by labeling your products as “zero added sugar” or “lower sugar than traditional energy drinks”, it’s a more positive spin on diet drinks that are pumped with chemicals and artificial sweeteners. 

Adaptogens

Adaptogens are really having their moment right now. They’re plants or herbs, like ginseng, that increase your body’s ability to deal with stress. And stress is definitely a lot of us have been dealing with in the last few years!

Low or zero caffeine

Yes, you can have energy drinks without caffeine. In fact, some people who are particularly sensitive to caffeine prefer these types of drinks instead of coffee. Even a slow-release caffeine drink can be a better option for many consumers. 

It’s just about finding caffeine-free ingredients — like taurine, ginseng, and B-vitamins — which provide an energy boost…without the caffeine crash. 

Now, onto the environmental side of things…

If people believe the energy drink they’re purchasing is a healthier option for them, the added bonus of also being better for the environment will help them convert. 

Creating an organic CPG already means that you’re a more environmentally-friendly choice over other traditional brands. 

When marketing your energy drink, be sure to focus on the environmental benefits of your products, alongside the health benefits. 

Things like:

  • Less pollution in the production process
  • Better soil health where your ingredients are grown
  • Your company is fighting climate change by making sustainable choices
  • Higher water conservation that comes with organic farming

The word 'organic' spelt out with leaves

Successful organic energy drinks: 3 examples

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s take a look at some organic energy drink brands that we’ve got our eye on, who we think are absolutely nailing the brief. 

Guru

Guru turned the energy drink industry on its head with the release of their organic, plant-based energy beverage. Rather than being a sickly-sweet drink like we’re used to, they’re a lot lighter — like flavored sparkling water. Guru is totally plant-based, filled with nootropic components that include vitamins, minerals, and herbs. 

Unlike many energy drinks which use synthetics, Guru is a purely organic product. Sweetened with natural ingredients like stevia, it has a lower calorie count than most other drinks on the market without being pumped with synthetics. It’s perfectly marketed as a healthier, more conscious choice for the modern consumer. 

Nooma

This brand markets its product as an organic sports drink, designed for people on the go who want fuel that’s actually good for them. The caffeine is derived from unroasted, green coffee beans which they call “clean”, and promises no jitters or crash. 

Coconut water provides added hydration, while a combo of adaptogens rounds out the ingredient list. Their marketing is genius: clean and simple packaging and promotion, allowing the goodness of the ingredients to speak for themselves. 

Function

Function's energy drinks are simply named ‘Organic Energy’. You get exactly what it says on the label: organic plant-based ingredients including coffeeberry, green tea, guarana, and yerba mate, all designed to boost energy and mental focus. 

Organic Energy is also a slow-release caffeine drink, providing sustained energy that lasts for a few hours, without the inevitable caffeine crash. Their range also includes bottled water and recovery drinks, spanning the whole market!

Finding your space in the energy drink market

Yes, the energy drink market is oversaturated with big players like PepsiCo and Coca-Cola. Even the smaller, more niche organic energy drink industry is growing with every passing day. 

But that doesn’t mean a small brand can’t throw its hat in the ring! It all comes down to marketing and distribution. Consumers are always looking for new things to try, particularly if the products are good for them… and the planet! It’s just about getting the product in the right place at the right time.

If you’re a CPG brand trying to launch an organic energy drink, well, we can help with that! Buffalo Market is a leading distributor of purpose-driven food and beverage brands, specializing in products that are good for the planet and good for us humans. 

We use our contacts and clients to help bring a new CPG's food and drink to mainstream and upstart retailers, as well as food service establishments.

Get in touch with us today and let’s see how we can work together!

More Like This