Makers of popular energy drinks are facing a New York state investigation over the advertising and marketing campaigns behind the beverages, especially their purported health benefits.
According to a Wall Street Journal report, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has issued subpoenas to PepsiCo Inc., Monster Beverage Corp., and Living Essentials LLC. Each makes a popular energy drink line and the state wants records and information the companies use to market these drinks, including information on the alleged health values of each drink.
Pepsi manufactures AMP, a spin on its Mountain Dew drink. Monster Beverage makes a line of drinks of the same name, and Living Essentials produces the heavily marketed 5-Hour Energy drink shot. Each contains high amounts of caffeine and are designed to give consumers a burst of energy.
Schneiderman’s office is investigating those energy-boost claims as well as others made by some makers of these drinks. AMP, for example, allegedly contains a Vitamin B additive that is supposed to give consumers “the kick you need to tackle the early morning meeting.” The makers of 5-Hour Energy promise consumers they’ll avoid the “crash” associated with other caffeinated drinks that many consumers turn to sustain their work rates until the end of the day.
Use of energy drinks continues to rise and more products are seemingly introduced every day. They’ve overtaken many retail store beverage coolers and there are no age restrictions to purchasing these products. 5-Hour Energy is even available next to cash registers, making it an impulse purchase.
WSJ.com adds that sales of energy drinks rose 16 percent last year and have been steadily climbing ever since they were introduced alongside other soft drinks in the U.S. Sales topped $8.9 billion last year. Monster is the leading seller in the U.S., just ahead of RedBull.
The New York investigation is centering on the advertising and marketing terms and phrases the makers of these products use in order to entice consumers to purchase them. Many attempt to make health benefit statements by including their drink’s inclusion of fruits, vitamins, and botanical extracts but most consumers would have no idea whether or not these statements were true or based on any factual data.
Energy drinks escape normal regulations set by the Food and Drug Administration. Common soda products are more strictly regulated than any energy drink and the FDA has only recently issued any public statements regarding its “concern” over the safety of energy drinks.
The investigation aims to find the truth behind the purported benefits of the “exotic” ingredients found in energy drinks, the Journal report adds, while finding out just how much caffeine actually plays in providing the noticeable jolt a person drinking them expects and usually receives.
There are numerous drawbacks to ingesting too much caffeine, especially for children, and the amount believed to be found in energy drinks combined with how much of them are consumed likely is exacerbbating those risks.