But retailers still remain unprepared. Space hasn't been made available and lucrative sales have been lost. A Zenith survey in September 2001 found 62% of Tesco, 31% of Safeway, 18% of Sainsbury and 12% of Asda stores had shortages of brand leader Red Bull. Meanwhile even more energy drinks have been launched, squeezing the fixture further. Zenith recorded 18 launches in 2001 alone. Halewood International's Red Alert, Stute Foods' Red Z, Food Brand Group's Rocket Fuel, and RAC124 are just a few arrivals, while Coca-Cola Enterprises is muscling in on Lucozade's sporty territory with Powerade. Brand leader Red Bull, which claims an 85% share of the functional drinks market, says too much consumer choice could result in loss of sales. "Consumers are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their understanding of functional products. They want to consume something that can benefit them with the reassurance that it works," says commercial director Philip Eddlestone. "Red Bull is designed to be used by people who are tired and in need of an extra boost and the functional benefits of it have been scientifically proven." Since January Red Bull has taken its distribution in-house and is currently focusing on strengthening customer relationships. We are constantly urging retailers to avoid out of stocks and increase Red Bull's visibility to reflect its share," he adds. Shark's UK manager Sylvia Marks says: "I don't think retailers make as much use of the category as they could. There is more return on this product than others they carry, yet all you see in a shop is one facing.There should be two facings, particularly at weekends, also some by the cash register, and more promotions. There are so many ways of selling it. It mixes well with fruit juice as it does with alcohol, so put it next to fruit juice." Packaging formats too are a strong marketing tool, whether slimline cans, PETs with sportscaps, or multipacks. Marks believes it won't be long before a one litre PET appears. Shark promises to be a serious contender in the UK now it's registered its business here. It belongs to Osotspa, a privately owned family business based in Bangkok, Thailand, and, like Red Bull, made its European debut in Austria. A Shark campaign starts this month on the London Underground. Aimed at 16-22 year olds, Shark is sold as a stimulation drink packed with natural active ingredients which, it says, justifies its high rsp of £1.15. Coca-Cola Enterprises' Powerade is getting a £7m support package, £2.8m going on marketing activity. Marketing director Ian Deste says CCE wants to build the brand and will do it through sampling, sponsorship, press and "down to earth" TV ads. Since its January roll-out CCE claims Powerade achieved 74% distribution in multiples and 18% in impulse. Rival GlaxoSmithKline is splashing out £62m supporting its flagship brands. Lucozade Sport and Lucozade Energy will be getting £20m and £15.5m respectively. GSK customer marketing manager for out of home Jeremy Thomas says its brands are particularly growing in the independent sector, mainly due to last year's strong activities, and there will be even more in 2002, along with npd aimed at educating more consumers about the range which will help maximise sales. Lucozade Energy, GSK says, is the third largest one-shot energy brand, up 6.9% in sales last year in independents, while Lucozade Sport rose 23%, also in independents. The latter is the official sports drink of the FA Barclaycard Premiership and this year's London Marathon. But its major coup is the signing of the man who is now England captain, Michael Owen, to front TV ads for Lucozade Sport. Unusual natural ingredients have a knack in stimulating the sector. Ant from InterContinental Brands is a blend of exotic fruit juices and sparkling water plus Chinese mountain ants which ICB claims are a "superstar stimulant to rank alongside ginseng". ICB says full distribution has been achieved and it is now set for its first ad campaign. {{FOCUS SPECIALS }}