Beverage developers feed the trend of alternative energy drinks

By Douglas Yu

- Last updated on GMT

Smart Energy
Smart Energy

Related tags Energy drinks Coffee Caffeine

As consumers are increasingly aware of the health problems associated with energy drinks, a Californian brand has spotted an opportunity for alternative energy products as mixers with juice, smoothies or cocktails.

Niveau's Smart Energy is a non-alcoholic energy drink that can be used as an mixer or drunk by itself, made from natural ingredients.

“People don’t normally drink alternative energy drinks, they drink coffee. But now more people are opening up for this new trend,” ​founder of the Niveau’s Smart Energy, Elliot Johnson, told Beverage Daily.

Health risks associated with traditional energy drinks​ 

There is particular concern about mixing traditional energy drinks with alcohol. Researchers suggest combining the two boosts the desire to carry on drinking longer and harder.

Smart Energy’s slogan is “Drink It or Mix It​.” Johnson said he hoped his products could benefit those people who mix energy drinks and alcohol in the bars. Back in 2009, while Johnson was doing night club promotions, he was aware that blending energy drinks into alcohol could cause dangerous health issues. He thought, “What can I drink if I want to socialize at a bar then?”

Natural ingredients VS caffeine

In order to reduce health risks caused by traditional energy drinks, Johnson decided to add natural ingredients to his products. “Our four key ingredients include B vitamins, rhodiola, DMAE and stevia,”​ he said. “We also add green tea extract to Smart Energy.”

Rhodiola can help people concentrate, B Vitamins can produce energy, and DMAE can elevate moods and enhance memory, Johnson explained.

Target market for alternative energy drinks

“First and foremost, our consumers can take a shot of Smart Energy in the morning to start off the day. They can also drink it before a workout or drink it at the bar.”​ Johnson said. He explained that his company’s target market is millennials, but everyone is welcome to purchase their products.

Smart Energy Mixer

People will continue to look for healthier beverages in the next a few years, Johnson believes.

“However, I don’t think alternative energy drinks will take over the traditional energy drink market anytime soon, because brands, such as Redbull and Rockstar, already have an established reputation among their customers, and they would rather stick to those brands,”​ he said.

Smart Energy is still a local brand, based in Oakland, CA. Products are distributed around 60 stores across the country, including California, the Seattle area, Atlantic City in New Jersey and Philadelphia. But Johnson hopes that Smart Energy can expand into international territory in the future.

Energy from carbohydrates, not caffeine

In a similar move, Kansas-based Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) recently adopted​ natural ingredients to their new line of alternative energy drinks, Live Real Farms, to improve energy in human bodies.

“DFA’s Live Real Farms Energy Drinks derive energy from high levels of carbohydrates, not caffeine like many other energy drinks,”​ a DFA spokesperson said. “Additionally, we have 100% vitamin B12 and green tea extract.”

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