The caffeine fix is delivering an uplift in every sense, with the four fastest growing brands by volume in this year’s Britain’s Biggest Brands report from The Grocer all using the stimulant.

Prime, Monster, Starbucks and Yorkshire Tea shifted a combined 122.2 million extra packs in the past year [NIQ 52 w/e 30 December 2023].

The fastest growth was recorded by Prime, which sold an extra 63 million cans (and entered the rankings for the first time in 64th place) after winning supermarket listings in early 2023 for its much-hyped Hydration sports drinks, combined with the high-profile April launch of its Energy lineup.

Providing 42.4mg of caffeine per 100ml, Prime Energy’s caffeine content is markedly higher than the 32mg/100ml of a typical can of Monster, the second-fastest grower of the year in volume terms, selling an extra 42 million cans, a 14.1% increase – which manufacturer and distributor Coca-Cola Europacific Partners GB put down to new launches.

Last year saw the debut of Juiced Aussie Lemonade, Ultra Rosa and Zero Sugar – Monster’s “biggest launch in 20 years”, according to Helen Kerr, associate director for portfolio development at CCEP GB.

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The success of Prime and Monster – worth a combined £259.4m in extra sales – reflected a wider resurgence in sports & energy drinks in the past 12 months”, said Katrina Bishop, NIQ UK thought leadership activation manager.

The category had capitalised on “people being back on the move and a growing need for more functional drinks.

“Also, Prime really capitalised on a successful influencer campaign that led to consumer demand within their target market of tweenagers, and a range of collectable flavours.”

The popularity of sports & energy drinks were also a factor in the growth of RTD coffee, Bishop added.

Starbucks, which last year tapped demand for larger formats and lower-sugar variants via its licensing partnership with Arla, enjoyed 12.6% volume growth. A wealth of Starbucks NPD across instant and ground coffee, courtesy of Nestlé, also buoyed sales.

For Yorkshire Tea, however, its 13.4% unit gain was the result of a “commitment to the quality and consistency of a proper brew” and “impactful communications”, said senior brand manager Lucy Hoyle.