New York CNN
Prime Energy and Sport Drinks are experiencing a rapid growth despite being only two years old.
Prime was launched in January of 2022. It is a collaboration between two influencers, Olajide KSI Olatunji from the United Kingdom and Logan Paul (a former boxing opponent) from the United States. They have amassed millions of followers across Instagram, YouTube and TikTok. Using their influence they created a drink line that has become an instant hit and revolutionized the energy drinks category.
Hydration is the first product of the duo. It's a sports drink similar to Gatorade that contains coconut water, electrolytes and caffeine, but without any sugar. The drink is different from older competitors with its punchy flavors. These include ice pops, lemonade, and 'Meta Moon', a mixture of blue raspberry bubblegum, and cotton candy.
Prime is advertised as a "better-for-you lifestyle beverage" that can be enjoyed at any time. The brand also hoped to avoid the'sports drinks' label despite the fact that it is one. Paul and KSI 'have a wide range of fans, including students, teachers, doctors and athletes.
After their launch, the drinks were quickly sold out. The chaos, including long lines of fans frantically grabbing the drink, led Aldi, a grocery store chain in the UK, to limit the purchase to one bottle at a time. The drink's popularity has also spread to the US where school-aged children are a big fan.
Prime launched Energy, a highly caffeinated version that was controversial. One 12-ounce can has 200 milligrams, six times as much caffeine as a Coca-Cola can. The 12-pack is $29.99 at Walmart, CVS, and Target.
Five new flavors are available, including strawberry watermelon, orange mango, and tropical punch.
Paul stated in a release announcing Energy that Prime launched with just one product line a year ago. Since then, the company has grown to rival some of the largest players in the market. It's been amazing to watch our growth, and I'm looking forward to seeing where we go now that we are taking on the Energy space.
Chuck Schumer, the Senate Majority leader, said that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) should investigate the high caffeine levels in the cans of energy drinks as well as their marketing.
Schumer claimed that Prime Energy has a 'high level of caffeine', which is giving parents and doctors jitters. He also said that most parents had never heard of the product that their children were begging for.
Schumer stated that 'Prime was born out of the reels of the social media world and the mysterious world of influencers'. Kids scroll through their phones and see the product. They then have a real need for it.
Prime responded by saying that it contains the same amount of caffeine as other popular energy drinks and all fall within the legal limits of the countries where the drink is sold.
Prime Energy complied with FDA guidelines and clearly states on the packaging and marketing materials that this is an energy beverage and not for anyone younger than 18 years old, the company stated.
"As a company, we place utmost importance on consumer safety. We welcome any discussions with the FDA, or other organizations, regarding industry changes that they feel necessary to protect consumers.
Paul and KSI both have a large number of young followers on social media. Fohr, a company that specializes in influencer marketing, reports that 61% of Paul’s Instagram followers are under 24 (KSI’s is 63%), and nearly 80% are younger than 24 on TikTok. Prime's Instagram account for the same age group accounts for 66%.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children younger than 12 years old should not consume any caffeinated products, while adolescents aged between 12 and 18 years old should limit their consumption to less 100 milligrams a day.
According to the FDA, 400 milligrams caffeine per day is not associated with harmful or negative effects. CNN asked the agency if it would formally review the drink. The FDA did not respond.
It wouldn't mark the first time that a Senate panel would hold a similar hearing. In 2013, a Senate committee held a similar hearing in which the top energy drinks were examined.
Jeffrey Klineman is the editor-in chief of BevNet. He told CNN that the energy drink giants at the time, Rockstar, Monster, and Red Bull, all appeared in front of the Senate about 10 years ago. They were cautioned to be cautious about their marketing to youth, but they were not as closely tied to a young teenage cohort as Prime.
If there is a hearing it will be interesting to watch how Prime alters its pitch or changes the branding of the energy drink in order to avoid confusion with the sports drinks.
Prime makes how much money?
Prime Hydration's first year of retail sales was $250 million, according to Paul. Hydration, in addition to promoting the product on social media, has signed deals with major sports leagues including the Los Angeles Dodgers and mixed martial arts organisation UFC, as well as, most recently, FC Barcelona to become their official Energy Drink.
Duane Stanford is the editor and publisher of Beverage Digest. He said that sports drinks have a smaller market than regular sodas, but they are growing at a faster pace.
According to Beverage Digest, Prime Hydration captured 5.8% of the dollar share for sports drinks in the first quarter 2023. Prime Hydration's growth is at the expense other brands. Gatorade, BodyArmor and Powerade, owned by Coca Cola and Pepsi, are all behind Prime in terms of dollar share.
There's still plenty of room to grow for Prime: Euromonitor predicts that by 2027, the US sports drink market will reach $17 billion.
Circana's data provided to BevNet shows that Prime Energy has made around $42.5m this year. Klineman stated that the sports drink faces more competition than its competitors because of the many 'thriving' brands, including Celsius, C4 or Ghost. These 'thriving' brands are 'all larger and growing rapidly'.
Klineman stated that it is not surprising, given Paul's popularity and the social media aspect, that both drinks have become so popular. Prime brings a young buying cohort who haven't been exposed to much beyond the traditional kid's drink. Paul is more appealing to 13-year olds than a juicebox.