While the market for energy drinks has become increasingly mainstream over the last few years, at least in the UK, the market for energy bars has remained much more niche. Energy drinks can be found behind most bars and on most supermarket shelves in the UK, but energy bars are still more likely to be found in health food or sports outlets.
But this could all be about to change with the launch of Boost Guarana, a new chocolate countline bar from Cadbury Schweppes, which the company claims is the first mainstream chocolate bar sold in the UK with proven energy stimulation properties.
The energy food market in the UK is estimated to be worth around £750 million (€1.2bn), according to Cadbury, and while the vast majority of this value comes from energy drinks, the company clearly believes that there is significant potential for an energy bar with a recognised brand name for 'normal' consumers.
The company claims that in tests carried out by Reading Scientific Services in the UK, its Boost Guarana line was found to be the most effective countline bar when it came to boosting mental energy, improving attention and concentration and maintaining accuracy. It also claims that the bar could match, and in some cases surpass, the energy boost given by some energy drinks.
The new countline contains guarana, a South American plant extract with proven stimulant properties and which is popular with energy drink makers. Cadbury said the product had been created to meet "the genuine consumer need to stimulate the mind and complement a busy lifestyle" and that it was targeted at 16- to 30-year-old males.
"The 80s were dominated by 'cash hungry'; the 90s by 'time hungry'. The 00s will be about 'energy hungry' - and Boost Guarana is a major development to satisfy that need - a fast, delicious, long lasting, mental and physical energy hit," commented Tony Bilsborough, Cadbury's spokesman.
The guarana berry that grows only in Venezuela and northern Brazil and its seeds contain guranine, a substance which has a similar stimulant effect to caffeine. Cadbury said that one bar of Boost Guarana contained 54mg of caffeine, similar to that found in one cup of coffee, but that the energy boosting effects of the bar lasted longer than coffee.
A further variant, Boost Glucose, for physical fuel, was also launched today, Cadbury said.