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Last Updated: Thursday, 11 August 2005, 23:19 GMT 00:19 UK
Energy drink market 'to hit 1bn'
Italian cyclist Giovanni Lombardi yawning before Tour de France race
Energy drinks claim to give users a swift "pick me up"
Energy drinks will account for 1 in every 5 spent on soft drinks in the UK by the end of 2005, research claims.

Analyst Mintel has forecast that sales of the drinks, such as Red Bull, will break through 1bn mark this year.

Sales of the drinks, which contain sugars or stimulants such as caffeine, have risen by 75% since 2000.

The jump comes despite a quarter of respondents saying the drinks were too expensive. Mintel polled 1,537 people aged 15 and above for its research.

A further 16% of those questioned said they did not believe the claims made about the drinks.

Growing market

Mintel concentrated on three drinks for the study - Lucozade, Lucozade Energy and Red Bull.

Parents seemed to be most receptive to the drinks' claims, with 44% saying they provided a kick, while just 31% of adults without children at home said they got a boost from the products.

"The UK has the longest working hours in the EU, and in order to get the most out of every day, consumers are increasingly looking at products with an extra kick, which is one reason why so many people are reaching for these kinds of drinks," Ellen Shields, senior analyst at Mintel said.

The group added that such products had now outgrown their niche market and moved into the mass market - an observation underlined by the fact that just 7% of those quizzed thought the drinks were a passing fad.

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