Sports Nutrition

Keep the Energy High and The Sugar Low

Are you ready for energy drinks 3.0?

Natural, clean and sugar-free, energy drinks are reshaping the rules and challenging consumer expectations. To connect with this opportunity, you need formulations that balance great taste with health & wellness concerns. Here’s what you need to know. 

Energy drinks reimagined

One of the main reasons consumers reach for energy drinks is the mental and physical boost they promise to provide. But did you know this is also the most sought-after benefit in sports nutrition beverages? And that’s not the only crossover.

Many energy drinks now contain functional and nutritional ingredients, such as guarana, green tea, vitamins and even protein. There’s also been a noticeable shift towards plant-based, naturally-sourced and label-friendly platforms. And a clear strategy to offer reduced, zero or no-added sugar options.

What this tell us is that energy drinks are a dynamic category. It continues to evolve, innovate and connect with consumer needs. Successfully blurring the boundaries to reach a wider, more health-conscious audience. 

How can you create products that chime with this narrative?

New generation stevia is a good place to start. These naturally-sourced, zero-calorie, plant-derived solutions will give your energy drinks the star quality consumers are looking for. 

Taste sweet liberation

One in three consumers are actively trying to reduce sugar consumption. But they aren’t willing to compromise on taste, no matter how appealing the nutritional profile.  

For formulators tasked with creating energy drinks that meet these health-forward concerns, this presents a major challenge. Particularly as the traditional use of high-potency artificial sweeteners, such as sucralose, aspartame and acesulfame-K, is also off the table.

The good news is that there is a solution. New-generation stevia ingredients, such as our PureCircle™ by Ingredion portfolio, can be used to create a clean, full-bodied, sugar-like taste with none of the off-notes or bitterness commonly associated with other sugar substitutes.

This positive profile opens up new and exciting possibilities for better-for-you energy drinks. Calorie-reduced options, for example, can finally move away from synthetic sweeteners, and consumers no longer have to put up with a relatively thin or watery mouthfeel. 

Instead, we use a carefully-selected blend of innovative stevia ingredients, which have a fuller and more rounded mouthfeel, to deliver a beautifully balanced, sugar-like sensory experience to delight consumers. But that’s not all.

The benefits of our comprehensive stevia portfolio extend even further. Energy drinks with added nutritional ingredients, such as caffeine and protein, often bring with them unwanted off-notes. But the use of steviol glycosides, such as Reb M PureCircle™ NSF-13, can not only mask potential bitterness but also increase some targeted flavour tonalities – all while delivering its all-important core sweetness contribution. 

Optimise consumer appeal

Our powerful stevia solutions don’t just put in a strong functional performance in the context of sugar reduction. Sustainably grown, minimally processed and traceable back  to the farming communities, these naturally-sourced ingredients support many of the most influential consumer trends, including:

  • Vegan / plant-based
  • Sustainability
  • Natural flavour labels

With so much in their favour, isn’t it time you energised your beverage development strategies with our stevia sweeteners and flavour modifiers?

Get in touch to talk to our experts or check out the benefits of our PureCircle™ by Ingredion portfolio of stevia modifiers and sweeteners.