Over the past few years, energy shots have emerged as a separate product category from energy drinks and other functional beverages. While energy drinks are increasingly associated with healthfulness and positive lifestyle choices, energy shots remain oriented toward direct functionality. Sold in single-serve bottles of about two ounces, they enable users to get a significant energy boost from caffeine and nutrients like B vitamins, without having to take the time to drink a full sports beverage or mug of coffee.
Since most energy shots are sugar-free, customers often view them as being healthier than soda, and they’re also seen as less expensive than multiple cups of coffee. The market for energy shots is growing—once geared almost entirely toward millennials, they are now becoming more popular among older adults as well.1 As food and beverage companies seek to appeal to a growing consumer base, formulations software can aid in the development of high-quality products.
Energy Shot Options
One way to succeed in the competitive energy shots market, which is currently dominated by a few major companies,2 is to offer a broader range of formulations. While a traditional caffeinated energy shot can do the job, a greater variety of products can make it possible to appeal to more potential customers and serve their needs more effectively. Some variations on traditional energy shot formulations that food researchers might explore:
- Shots with different levels of caffeine
Caffeine affects users in different ways, based on factors ranging from body size to acquired tolerance. Because a standard energy shot is only comprised of about two ounces of liquid, users are not able to tailor the amount of caffeine they are taking in to suit their personal preferences. By offering shots that contain lower and higher amounts of caffeine, formulators can meet the needs of all users.
- Shots that contain protein
For many people it can be tough to get enough protein into their diet each day. Health-conscious consumers may also be worried about the high amounts of saturated fat in certain cuts of meat. Traditionally, people looking for an easy and healthy way to boost their protein intake turned to protein shakes, but complaints about flavor and texture abound. Energy shots that contain protein could be a convenient and less expensive alternative, and formulators can ensure that they remain low in sugar and calories, in order to optimize their functionality for a single purpose: a quick hit of energy and protein.
- Alternative flavor options
While energy shots are primarily marketed for functionality, people who use them regularly may enjoy mixing it up with alternative flavors. Most of the current options on the market offer variations on fruity flavors, but formulators may also explore dessert options, like chocolate-flavored energy shots. A key challenge for formulation researchers will be making sure that new flavors taste realistic, don’t add excessive calories, and don’t interfere with the functionality of the product.
- Relaxant shots
On the opposite side of the spectrum, some companies are starting to offer shots containing melatonin and other relaxants that can help users wind down.3 Again, functionality is key, so researchers need to find relaxing ingredients that can provide a significant effect in a concentrated form.
When pursuing any of these possible energy shot variations, food researchers can benefit from formulations software. This technology makes it possible to conduct preliminary tests on a potential product in silico, in order to ensure that it will have the desired properties when brought to the bench. In addition, it can help with the sourcing of high-quality ingredients that enable the inclusion of nutrients like protein and realistic flavorings.
Collaborating with Packaging Experts
Because energy shots are focused almost entirely on functionality, the delivery method is key. Traditionally, energy shots come in small bottles with two ounces of liquid, but there are other types of packaging, like sprays and drops, that could appeal to customers and provide a way to more carefully control the amount of liquid that the user is taking in.
However, adding ingredients like flavor or protein can affect the texture of the product, so it is critical for food formulations researchers to confer with packaging experts in order to ensure that the product remains compatible with the packaging. Formulations software makes it easy to share test results between departments within an organization. That way, food researchers and packaging experts can stay on the same page throughout the development process.
BIOVIA Formulations is a development solution for food formulations researchers who are looking to develop new products or expand on existing products. Contact us today for more information about this technology and our other software offerings.
- “”Energy Shots Still Compete,” March 10, 2017, http://www.cstoredecisions.com/2017/03/10/energy-shots-still-compete/ ↩
- “Leading Energy Shot Brands in the United States in 2016, Based on Sales,” 2017, https://www.statista.com/statistics/235191/leading-20-energy-shot-brands-in-the-united-states-based-on-sales/ ↩
- “Energy Powers Beverage Sales,” February 24, 2011, http://www.cstoredecisions.com/2011/02/24/energy-powers-beverage-sales/ ↩