The race is on, as latest research from Mintel finds sales of sports and energy drinks set to hit the £1 billion finishing line. After healthy growth of 51% between 2004 and 2008, sales of sports and energy drinks continue to thrive. Even in 2008, as economic pressures put the skids on previously growing non-alcoholic markets such as smoothies and bottled water, this market grew by 10% from £855 million in 2007 to reach £941 million in 2008. Volume sales are also impressive: last year we knocked back some 484 million litres of the stuff, also up 10% on 2007 (442 million litres). In 2009, for the first time, the market is estimated to reach 525 million litres and a value of just over £1 billion.
What is more, the thirst for these sprightly beverages is set to continue. Indeed, over the next five years, value sales are forecast to increase by an energetic 48% to reach £1.5 billion, whilst volume sales will rise by 44% to reach 757 million litres. Within the market, it is energy drinks which are driving the sales. Indeed, the energy drinks market (£716 million) currently dwarfs sports drinks, with 2008 value sales of £225 million. In terms of actual sales, the energy drinks market experienced a £241 million increase between 2004 and 2008, in contrast to £89 million for sports drinks.
Despite the boost in sales, today only a third of the population actually uses sports and energy drinks, a figure which has remained static over the past five years. There has been a distinct failure to grow penetration of sports and energy drinks in the UK. Instead, the market has succeeded by increasing frequency of drinking amongst young male converts in particular.