Energy drinks in Ireland - a review
Energy drinks have risen in popularity in recent years and are now sold in over 165 countries worldwide. On the island of Ireland, energy drinks advertising accounted for 20% of the total soft drinks market advertising in 2014. In the United States, sales increased by 60% between 2008 and 2012, and in 2006, a staggering 500 new brands of energy drinks were released worldwide. In the UK, the energy drinks market is worth £491 million and is growing by 7% year on year. This report has found an eightfold increase in the number of energy drinks available in 2015 compared to 2002. While no standard definition of an energy drink is used in the scientific literature, it is commonly understood to be a non-alcoholic drink that contains caffeine (usually its main ingredient), taurine, vitamins and sometimes a combination of other ingredients (such as guarana and ginseng, among others), and it is marketed for its perceived or actual benefits as a stimulant, for improving performance and for increasing energy. As this report will highlight, there is some confusion amongst the public as to what the term "energy drink" means, as some soft and sports drinks, while containing little or no caffeine, use the term ‘energy’ in the product label, for example, Lucozade. Both the scientific community and the public have raised health concerns about the caffeine and calorie intakes associated with energy drinks and the use of these drinks as a mixer with alcohol. These concerns are disputed by the energy drinks industry.