How Red Bull Uses Innovation to Stay Atop the Energy Drink Category
The beverage industry has seen significant changes over the years, forcing manufacturers to find new opportunities for innovation. As there’s been a shift from traditional beverages to a variety of different types of functional drinks and increasing flavor variety, Red Bull has driven industry trends over the years.
When Red Bull launched 30 years ago, they pioneered a completely new beverage category and an iconic lifestyle brand was born. After starting in Austria and carving out strong distribution across Europe, the company expanded to the United States in 1997, now the largest Red Bull market. Red Bull’s mission has always been to vitalize body and mind – especially for those studying, working, traveling, exercising or juggling the daily demands of life.
Red Bull continued to grow through thoughtful consumer-centric innovation, despite more competition surfacing in the energy drink category. Total energy drink and energy shot sales reached an estimated $13.5 billion in 2018, which marked a 29.8 percent growth from 2013, according to Mintel’s “Energy Drinks – US report” in May 2019.
With steady growth in the category, Red Bull continued to innovate with products offering a choice of flavors, sizes, and sugar-free options in order to meet consumers’ desires.
Red Bull remains a leader in the category and continues to drive innovation. For perspective, the company sold a total of 7.4 billion cans in 2019 across 170 countries worldwide. Furthermore, they sold 20,000,000 cans every day last year. Red Bull continues to launch new offerings in the beverage category through their “Editions” line, which offers various taste profiles such as Peach and Coconut Berry. As a result of bringing new products to market, the company has had the No. 1 innovation item for three of the past five years. They also ranked among the top five of innovation launches across total non-alcoholic beverages in each of those five years. 1
As the food and beverage industry evolves to meet consumers’ changing needs, it’s important to find ways to innovate. How does your organization approach innovation? Has your company had the same products for years, or have they followed industry trends and adapted to the market? Regardless of where you are in your innovation journey, there are ways to think outside of the box and move your company forward.
1IRI total US data for non-alcoholic beverages for 5 years ending 12.29.2019