It seems that Red Bull has found more success introducing energy drinks than energy shots or cola, as their recent launches like the Red Bull Total Zero and the three Editions flavors have fared much better. So it should come as no surprise that the energy drink behemoth continues building sales momentum behind their energy drink assortment. At the 2014 National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) show, Red Bull announced three new members to the Editions family. Joining the Red (Cranberry) and Blue (Blueberry) Editions are the Yellow (Tropical Citrus), Orange (Orange), and Cherry (Cherry) energy drink flavors. The Orange & Cherry options contain zero calories and zero sugars, while the Yellow option returns with nationwide availability after a two month test exclusively with 7-Eleven. These new flavors will be available starting mid-February in 355ml (12oz) cans, while the 250ml (8oz) cans will transition to a multi-pack sku.
Among the three new flavors, Cherry may be the only true new addition to Red Bull’s portfolio. The Yellow flavor was brought to market during the 2014 summer months, exclusively with 7-Eleven. It was known as the Summer Edition to temporarily complement their Red, Blue, and Silver drink line-up from July to September. Meanwhile, the Orange flavor may have previously existed in limited U.S. markets under the name of BULL Energy. BULL Energy had different packaging, with limited references to Red Bull, and was available exclusively across soccer venues (as an exclusive product for the New York Red Bulls, the city’s soccer team).
Regardless of the flavors being truly new innovations or otherwise, this marks an accelerated pace of product introductions for Red Bull than previously recorded. Before 2012 (year of Red Bull Total Zero launch), it was back in 2009 when Red Bull added to their product line-up, with an unsuccessful expansion into energy shots. Since the 2012 launch of Total Zero, three new items were added in 2013 (Red Bull Editions) and now three more in early 2015. Although their pace doesn’t match that of Monster Energy or Rockstar Energy (which launches multiple new products annually), Red Bull’s more recent product expansion activities indicates their commitment to giving brand loyalists more choices. And this ultimately lets consumers reward Red Bull with more dollars.
With these new introductions, it appears that Red Bull may not be done with their product expansion. The Orange and Cherry flavors are decidedly different from the Red, Blue, and Yellow items, containing zero calories and zero sugar. In essence, these two skus align closer with Red Bull Total Zero. In which case, Red Bull may explore opportunities to build out their “Zero” product line-up. Would the energy drink manufacturer launch both the Red and Blue flavors under the Zero portfolio? Also mentioned in the press release was the Editions will be available in single servings (355ml/12oz sizes) and multipack servings (4-packs of 250mls/8oz). Would Red Bull consider up-sizing some items even more, to join the original Red Bull Energy Drink in a 473ml (16oz) size? Even yet another option would be exploring additional flavors to bring to market. Beyond the current flavors, would Red Bull add to the Editions line-up with a Pink (lemonade), Peach (peach), or Purple (grape)?
Incremental offerings for the Editions line-up certainly presents Red Bull with opportunities and risk. It’s worth noting that Red Bull has quietly swept the Silver (Lime) edition under the rug. It’s not clear whether Silver is being discontinued, but keeping the current Red Bull flavor portfolio at five flavors is a sound decision. As long as energy drink consumers enjoy Red Bull’s new products, the energy drink company will continue to deliver popular innovations. Today, the Red Bull company looks very different from the one back in 2009. After a period of failed experimentation, a string of successful innovations has helped Red Bull take back control of the energy drink market.