The Ins and Outs of Energy Drink Labeling
Many Americans rely on a cup of coffee (or several) to get going in the morning. But this caffeinated beverage is far from the only option we have to power through the day. Even consumers who have sworn off soda can find a way to maximize productivity and feel more awake. Enter: energy drinks.
Although the ingredients may vary between brands and specific energy drink products, the vast majority of energy drink manufacturers have come to a consensus regarding the labels for beverages like these. Members of the American Beverage Association (which include major corporations like The Coca-Cola Company and PepsiCo, as well as ROCKSTAR and Monster) represent 95% of the entire energy drink category. As such, the ABA has developed specific commitments in regards to product identification and labeling for energy drinks.
According to research, 38% of consumers use nutrient content claims often, while 34% of consumers say they reference this information sometimes. Including this data is essential for energy drinks, as it’s not merely about nutrition; since these beverages may include caffeine, advisory statements need to be included on custom beverage labels to inform consumers. The ABA notes that beverage labels for energy drinks need to include total caffeine quantity from all sources in the container, on a per-can or per-bottle basis, and on a per-serving basis (if containers have multiple servings within). These caffeine statements can be included separately from product identification and nutrition facts panels. These beverages must also contain a statement advising the consumer that the drink is “not intended or recommended for children, pregnant or nursing women, or those sensitive to caffeine.” Of course, all ingredients and any allergen information should be included on these food and beverage labels.
The ABA also notes that product identification must be carefully considered here. Energy drinks should not be labeled as dietary supplements, despite how they were classified in the past. Instead, they must be labeled under the foods and beverages category. Labels on energy drinks should not promote mixing the contents with alcohol, nor should they contain claims about canceling out the effects of alcohol use.
Energy drink manufacturers should take note that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration does regulate these beverages. Although some makers misclassified these drinks in the past, stricter regulations and consumer incidents have prompted more transparency within the industry. Many of the most well-known energy drink makers pride themselves on being completely forthcoming with their ingredient lists. By adhering to the ABA guidelines and focusing on consumer knowledge, energy drink manufacturers can actually go above and beyond what’s required.
While this may seem like a hassle, it’s actually an excellent way to improve brand reputation and focus on consumer trust. Rather than admit only as much as you need to, it’s often a better idea to disclose everything and let the modern consumer decide for themselves whether your product is the right fit for them. After all, customers are thirsty for information — and by providing as much of it as possible on your labeling and packaging, they may find your energy drink is exactly what’s needed to quench that thirst.