Drinks that contain caffeine should be categorised as ‘caffeinated drinks’ and packs should clearly mention statutory safety warnings, said K. Chandramouli, chairperson, Food Safety & Standard Authority of India (FSSAI).
“We are separating these drinks with other soft drink items, creating a new category called ‘caffeinated drinks’. Consumers should have such a drink after knowing what it contains,” Chandramouli said, on Friday. Labelling these as energy drinks is misleading for consumers, said the FSSAI chairman.
As per the FSSAI guidelines, which would be published soon, drinks that contain caffeine of more than 320 mg per litre or parts per million (ppm) would be labelled as caffeinated drink, said Chandramouli. Currently, the prescribed upper limit of caffeine in soft drinks and aerated sugar water is 145 ppm.
“Most of the energy drinks are likely to come under the caffeinated drinks category,” he added.
Packs should contain the statutory safety warnings, specifying “not recommended for children, pregnant or lactating women, persons sensitive to caffeine and sportspersons”, as per a FSSAI note.
"We already declare caffeine on Burn. It says it “contains caffeine”," said a Coca-Cola spokesperson. PepsiCo said that the company does not sell energy drinks in India, and Red Bull officials were not available for comments.
The government has, in July, given approval to Coca-Cola to produce energy drinks in India, as reported in Business Standard. The company, however, is yet to chalk out the detailed plan.
Coca-Cola sells its energy drink Burn in India. According to Coca-Cola website, Burn contains 0.03% of caffeine in a can of 300 ml.
The energy drink market in India is dominated by Red Bull, Cloud 9 and Power Horse that are marketed by two Australian companies. Indian energy drinks market is estimated at Rs 500 crore and is expected to grow at CAGR 25%, according to a study by Technopak Advisor. The carbonated drinks market is close to Rs 6,000 crore and is growing by 10-12% annually.
PepsiCo, in 2008, had launched SoBe in India. The company does not sell the product anymore, said a company spokesperson.
Coca-Cola launched its energy drink Burn in India in December 2009. Prior to this, Coca-Cola had launched another energy drink – Shock in 2001, which failed to penetrate Indian markets.
Energy drinks, mostly those with more caffeine, are favourite among young generations, and mostly consumed before gym activities and at pubs.