The food and beverage consulting and marketing firm only highlights trends that “are underlying key drivers for our industry,” meaning they must spur viable financial growth, which clean labels and fast energy do not, NNB says. (Read about the trends that made the company’s top 10 list HERE.)
“The days of opportunity are over” for fast energy, which was included in previous years’ top 10 lists, and clean labels in part because they are no longer novel, NNB said.
“After 25 years of steady growth in the west, energy is maturing and growth is slowing,” with Red Bull and Monster leading the category, NNB said. 5-Hour Energy also is a big player in a little bottle – leading the 100 ml shot category for energy products, but shots failed to break free of niche markets to fully penetrate across channels, it added.
Consumers’ waning infatuation with energy drinks also could be influenced by negative media coverage of public health concerns associated with the products, including links to fatalities and serious energy.
Many large brands also found their marketing under fire in the last few years after they were hauled in front of Congress and accused of targeting children who might not understand the potential side effects or overdose risks of the products.
Some brands, such as Nestle Jamba All-Natural Energy Drinks, tried to expand the energy category into the natural segment, but 95% of the products launched have disappeared from the market and those that remain are niche products, NNB said.
Natural energy likely did not take off because it lacks the oomph of caffeine and the natural claims do not hold significant appeal to most energy drink shoppers, it added.
Just because fast energy is no longer on the top 10 list though, does not mean it failed as a market driver. Rather, the category is a success – reaching more than $50 billion in retail sales worldwide, according to NNB.
Clean labels are no longer a point of differentiation
NNB also omitted “clean labels” from its top 10 list, but for very different reasons.
“Clean label is not a trend. It is a hygiene factor,” meaning people simply expect clean labels as a basic standard, and therefore are unwilling to pay extra money for them, NNB said.
It added that 15 years ago a clean label offered differentiation and could help grow sales, but now it is “business as usual." With this new mind set, clean labels actually could cost industry because the ingredients are often more expensive and the difference cannot be passed to consumers.