Food Scientist for Hire


The debut of the first energy drink in the United States occurred in 1949 with the introduction of “Dr. Enuf”. The European market witnessed the launch of energy drinks in 1987 and their global popularity soared following the introduction of Red Bull in 1997. 

After this, the energy drink market experienced substantial growth, witnessing the global release of various energy drink brands. The global energy drinks market size was estimated at USD 86.35 billion in 2021. 

In the mid-1980s, Austrian entrepreneur Dietrich Mateschitz partnered with Thai businessman Chaleo Yoovidhya to create Red Bull. Inspired by the Thai energy drink “Krating Daeng”, they adapted the formula, launching Red Bull in Austria in 1987. 

The drink combined caffeine, taurine, B-vitamins, and sugar to provide both mental and physical stimulation. The brand’s unique slim can and marketing slogan, “Red Bull gives you wings”, contributed to its global success. Red Bull expanded internationally, entering the U.S. market in 1997. Known for its association with extreme sports and adventurous lifestyles, Red Bull remains a dominant force in the global energy drink market. They sold 12.1 billion cans in 2023 worldwide, which makes it one of the most popular energy drinks globally, controlling about 39.5% of the US market in 2022. Other companies began to develop their own energy drink versions, often with unique ingredients and marketing strategies. 

Some well-known examples of energy drink manufacturers include Monster Energy, Rockstar Energy, and 5-hour Energy. The drinks are often marketed towards young adults and athletes, emphasizing increased alertness and performance.

Between 2010 and 2020, new energy drink manufacturing brands began to explore alternatives to traditional caffeinated ingredients, such as natural extracts (e.g. green coffee bean) and adaptogens (think ashwagandha, L-theanine, ginseng, ginkgo biloba). The market also saw the emergence of “functional beverages”, which claim to offer additional health benefits beyond energy.

One of the main ingredients in energy drinks is caffeine. Caffeine is a naturally occurring chemical compound found in plant constituents such as coffee and cocoa beans, tea leaves, guarana berries and the kola nut. Single doses of caffeine up to 200mg – about 3mg per kilogram of body weight (mg/kg body weight) from all sources do not raise safety concerns for the general healthy adult population (pregnant women not included). Energy drinks like Red Bull and Monster contain 32mg/ 100mL, whereas coffee can contain 30 – 50mg/ 100mL caffeine depending on the strength of brewing and type of coffee. 


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