Caffeine is a white crystalline purine, methyl xanthine alkaloid, which is found in coffee, soft drinks, tea, chocolate, and certain medicines. Unlike many other substances in the psychoactive category, it is legal and not regulated in nearly all parts of the world.
Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant. It is one of the most popular drugs in the world, consumed by about 90% of people in some form or another, but most often consumed in beverage form. It is a natural ingredient found in plants like cocoa beans, tea leaves, and kola nuts. For most of us, the amount of caffeine in two to four cups of coffee a day is not harmful. However, it is well documented that too much caffeine has certain side effects and can cause problems.
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has set the limit of Caffeine content for Energy Drinks, under the standards for Caffeinated Beverage. FSSAI, under the category of water based flavoured drinks, described the so-called ‘Energy drinks’ as the drinks that contain high levels of nutrients and other ingredients.
This step of regulating the caffeinated beverages from FSSAI came after a series of popular energy drinks were found to contain caffeine content beyond recommended daily consumption level in the Indian market. As per the Indian food regulations, many ingredients which were being used in the caffeinated beverages were not approved for use. The energy drinks were also being sold with added vitamins above their Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA).
There is a worrisome trend of increased consumption of Energy Drinks among the youth. Energy drinks are widely consumed by adolescents and young as these claim to improve performance, endurance, focus and alertness. The World Health Organisation (WHO) study published in Frontiers in Public Health on October 14, 2014 also said the health risks associated with energy drink consumption are primarily related to their caffeine content.
An overdose of caffeine has been known to cause palpitations, hypertension, central nervous system stimulation, nausea, vomiting, hypocalcemia, convulsions, and, in certain rare cases, even death. There is an increased risk of arterial hypertension and Type 2 diabetes in adults, as daily high consumption of caffeine reduces insulin sensitivity. All these factors have raised valid concerns of food safety. With the agenda of consumer safety on priority, FSSAI is ensuring the implementation of these standards with regular enforcement activities.
India has become one of the first few countries to have regulations for the sale of Energy Drinks. The energy drinks industry, which leads to the maximum consumption of caffeine has to address the safety concerns raised by WHO and other agencies. The industry might face many challenges and hurdles if it doesn’t wake up and smell the coffee!
There is a huge opportunity to leverage in this space for players with innovation and intention. One example would be a unique ingredient- EnXtra®, an Alpinia galanga extract, developed by Enovate Biolife after conducting an arduous amount of clinical studies to back its claims. It is the only botanical ingredient that is clinically proven to show same day effect on alertness lasting up to 5 hours, as opposed to caffeine, which lasts for about 2-3 hours before it ‘crashes’. ‘Caffeine crash’ is a phenomena where, as the caffeine effect wears off within 2- 3 hours there is a sudden energy drop, sluggishness, jittery feeling and sleepiness. Enxtra® is known as the ‘caffeine amplifier’ as it impedes this ‘caffeine crash’ effect and sustains mental alertness up to 5 hours. EnXtra® can greatly help reduce the dosage of caffeine or even act as a caffeine replacement in energy drinks. Moreover, being a botanical ingredient it is devoid of any side effects or habit forming tendencies unlike caffeine.
In the light of tightening of the caffeine regulations such innovative natural & botanical ingredients will prove to be the next gen players in the energy drinks market.
Shilpa Khadilkar, International Marketing, Enovate Biolife, Mumbai