‘There’s an opportunity to broaden the appeal of energy drinks’: Thailand’s Carabao on potential of UK market

By Rachel Arthur

- Last updated on GMT

The Carabao is an Asian water buffalo 'admired for its physical power, extraordinary stamina & unbreakable spirit.'
The Carabao is an Asian water buffalo 'admired for its physical power, extraordinary stamina & unbreakable spirit.'

Related tags Energy drinks Energy drink Soft drink Uk functional beverage beverage

Asian energy drink Carabao has launched in the UK, and while it admits it’s a competitive market, it still sees significant untapped potential beyond the niche categories of ‘lads, high-octane sports and rock music.’

Carabao was established 15 years ago in Thailand, and is also available in other south-east Asian markets including Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar. It is initially available in the UK in two variants: original and sugar free.

As part of its UK marketing, Carabao will be a top-tier sponsor of Chelsea and Reading football clubs from next season.

The UK versions of the energy drinks use the same logo and brand proposition as Thailand, but the formulation has been changed.

Buffalo branding: ‘extraordinary stamina and unbreakable spirit’

Carabao is available in a 325ml sleek can at £1.19 per can. The original variety contains carbonated water, caffeine (0.03%), taurine (0.3%), vitamins B6 and B12, preservatives and sucrose; while the sugar-free version does not contain sucrose.

The branding is based around the Carabao: “the revered Asian water buffalo admired for its physical power, extraordinary stamina and unbreakable spirit.”

Intercarabao is managing product distribution in the UK, while looking to follow this with a global rollout. Intercarabao CEO, Peter Gutierrez, told BeverageDaily that the UK product will have a different formulation, but the branding will remain the same.  

“The drink has been developed specifically for the taste profile of UK consumers, offering a more carbonated and great tasting energy boost,” ​he said. “However, the Carabao logo and brand proposition are the same as in Thailand.”

Gutierrez believes there is room for another energy drink in the UK market, particularly because it believes its taste profile differs from its competitors in terms of flavor and carbonation.

“We want to give a broad range of consumers with stressful and busy lives (and not just lads) a great tasting energy boost.  A recent study from Mintel revealed that one in three of us admit we're permanently worn out because of the pace of modern life.

"We believe there is an opportunity to broaden the appeal of energy drinks hugely.

“Currently, many consumers don’t feel that energy drinks are relevant to them, which is why they seek their energy boost from other products. We believe this is because marketing from energy drink brands has under-served them.”

Carabao’s ambition is to change that, added Gutierrez.

“We will adopt a more inclusive marketing approach: speaking to consumers across the board, expanding the conversation beyond the niche categories of ‘lads,’ high-octane sports and rock music.

“Carabao is undoubtedly in a very competitive market, with a number of big-spending competitors. However, we are preparing to market ourselves very differently.  

“The energy drinks sector is one of the fastest growing across UK grocery and beverages markets, but our research confirms that there is a significant untapped potential within the energy drink market, based on increasing its appeal to a more adult consumer.”

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