retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The New York Times this morning that Monster Beverage, maker of the high caffeine energy drink, has decided "after a decade of selling it as a dietary supplement to market it as a beverage, a switch that will bring significant changes in how it is regulated."

By not selling the drink as a dietary supplement, Monster "will no longer be required to tell federal regulators about reports potentially linking its products to deaths and injuries ... The company is fighting back against critics on several fronts. This month, it held a news conference to dispute accusations in a lawsuit that the death of a 14-year-old girl was linked to high caffeine levels in Monster Energy. Separately, it threatened to sue a nutritionist who publishes a newsletter for elementary schools for statements that it said were defamatory.

"The changes by Monster and Rockstar demonstrate the degree to which energy drink manufacturers can decide which rules to follow."

The Times goes on to report that "a spokesman for Monster, Michael Sitrick, said the company had decided to market its products as beverages for several reasons. One was to stop what he described as 'misguided criticism' that the company was selling its energy drinks as dietary supplements because of the belief that such products were more lightly regulated than beverages. Another consideration, he said, was that consumers can use government-subsidized food stamps to buy beverages."
KC's View:
What a crock.

I suppose that the folks at Monster believe that over time people will forget about the reports of deaths that may have been associated with energy drinks. But just because it does not have to report this stuff to federal regulators won't mean that other folks won;t be keeping track.

I'm not a scientist, nor a nutritionist. All I know is that I won't drink these things because I don't trust them, and that I've asked my kids not to drink them. We won't have them in the refrigerator at home. And I continue to believe that in the long run, the energy drinks category is a public relations nightmare waiting to happen.