Millennials Favoring Energy Drinks with Functional Claims

CHICAGO – At Coffee Fest Chicago recently, business owners and various industry reps gathered to take note of new products, as well as learn how to increase sales.

As much as anything, the event suggested that energy drinks appear poised to boost companies’ bottom lines.

The Chicago event, which took place June 24-25, illustrated that coffee shops are beginning to embrace handcrafted energy drinks to expand beyond the morning daypart and to appeal to younger consumers.

Millennials comprise about 50% of total energy drink consumers, and 62% of Millennials are more likely to buy energy drinks that have energy or stamina-boosting functional claims, according to a Beverage Consumer Trend Report from 2018, cited in a Torani sell-sheet.

In Chicago, Red Bull sampled its Red Bull Infusions made with its energy drinks and Torani flavored syrups. Beverage Specialists Inc. developed its Tiki Breeze Energy Concentrates for coffee shops to offer colorful, and rather tasty energy drinks with the benefits of botanicals rhodiola rosea and lotus leaves and flowers.

“Consumers are purchasing iced drinks at cafes more than ever, and they want natural ingredients,” Alex Dintruff, Product specialist at Tiki Breeze told The Food Institute. “Cafes with extensive menus are increasing their margins, sales, and available space with naturally powered energy concentrates. …”

Meanwhile, Lotus Energy Drinks won the Coffee Fest Chicago Best New Product award, for its Gold Lotus Plant Energy Concentrate featuring gold geisha coffee fruit (cascara), organic caffeine from green coffee beans, and a proprietary blend Plant Energy 7 (with “adaptogenic” botanicals, super fruits, amino acids, and B-vitamins).

Other exhibitors offering energy drinks included Monin with its Energy Boost concentrate (with CoffeeBerry Energy, ginseng, Ashwagandha, guarana, and green coffee extract) and Gosh That’s Good! Brand with its Bev Buz Energy Mix-In concentrate (with taurine, guarana, caffeine, ginseng, gingko biloba, and vitamins).


Virginia Lee is a food, drinks & beauty trends explorer and market researcher. She has advised companies on innovation and market entry opportunities in consumer-packaged goods at Euromonitor International, Brightfield Group, and Innova Market Insights. Connect with Virginia on Twitter and Instagram at @VirginiaALee.