According to a study conducted by Packaged Facts (2/4/13), energy drinks may make up a small portion of the non-alcoholic beverage market, but the highly caffeinated drinks themselves have had a dramatic increase in sales. The study, “Energy Drinks and Shots: U.S. Market Trends” found that from 2008 to 2012, the energy drinks and shots industry grew by 60 percent, with more than $12.5 billion in sales in 2012.
The report further found that five percent of adults consume energy drinks between five and seven times per month, with approximately two percent drinking them 10 times or more. The most commonly used energy drink brands were Red Bull, Monster Energy, 5-Hour Energy and Rockstar Energy.
Given the dramatic growth of the industry, the report suggests that sales of energy drinks could top $21 billion a year by 2017.
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In 2011, the US Drug Abuse Warning Network reported a drastic increase in emergency room visits linked to energy drinks. As reported by WebMD (11/22/11), between 2005 and 2009, the number of ER visits linked to energy drinks increased tenfold. In 2008, there were reportedly more than 16,000 ER visits involving energy drinks. Of the ER visits linked to energy drinks, more than half involved college-age adults, with teens aged 12 to 17 making up 11 percent of ER visits.
Energy drinks are considered supplements, not food, so they are not subject to the same regulations as food, allowing them to contain higher levels of caffeine.
One lawsuit alleging a 14-year-old died after consuming two energy drinks in 24 hours is set to go to court in April 2015.