Over the last 25 years, energy drinks have experienced considerable growth in popularity and thus, are now consumed in most parts of the world. Despite this success, energy drinks are in fact still a niche product, representing only 1 % of the overall non-alcoholic beverages market.
This is mainly due to the fact that energy drink consumption is occasional, rather than being part of the daily diet, and because energy drinks, have a unique profile of ingredients, are sold in predominantly small product sizes and have a special taste that is best suited to special occasions.
In their 2015 scientific opinion on the safety of caffeine, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) found that the contribution to total caffeine intake from energy drinks is negligible in children and low in adolescents. By far the most caffeine consumption – for people of all ages – comes from other sources namely coffee, tea, chocolate and cola beverages. This clearly shows that other popular products, which are consumed more regularly, such as coffee, tea, chocolate and cola beverages, are the key contributors to daily caffeine intake in Europe.
This is also true for markets outside Europe, such as the United States (U.S.). In line with European data, scientific studies consistently demonstrate that energy drink consumption is a very small part of total caffeine consumption. In a comprehensive study from 2013, beverage caffeine intakes were estimated in a representative sample of U.S. consumers. It was found that 96 % of caffeine consumed from beverages was coming from coffee, soft drinks and tea. Moreover, coffee was shown to be the largest contributor to beverage caffeine intakes in U.S. consumers (Mitchell et al., 2014). Shortly after, U.S. governmental research (Branum et al., 2014) has confirmed this conclusion. In fact, the survey found that the proportion of caffeine intake from energy drinks in 12 to 18 year olds actually decreased in 2009 – 2010 compared to 2007 – 2008.
In summary, there is compelling evidence from authoritative bodies and various scientific studies that energy drink consumption is low in Europe and other parts of the world, like the U.S. The common belief that energy drinks significantly contribute to overall caffeine consumption simply isn’t true.