The Carabao brand launched in the UK at the end of May

The Carabao brand launched in the UK at the end of May

The head of a new energy drinks company has suggested there is a gap in the market for energy drinks brands to target older consumers who struggle more with tiredness than younger drinkers.

Speaking to just-drinks earlier this week, Peter Gutierrez, who launched the Carabao brand in the UK late last month, argued that the segment's focus on "lads" made for a missed opportunity to reach older drinkers, both male and female. "The irony is that the people who most need energy are the least marketed to by the category," said Gutierrez. "This is a category that is very focused on what one might describe as 'lads', so we see an opportunity in positioning our product at an older audience that is more unisex in nature.

"The category could be doing a much better job of appealing to a broader audience, reaching beyond the niche of thrill-seeking young men," he added.

Carabao is a Thai energy drink, owned by Carabao Group and established in 2001. Gutierrez's Intercarabao firm holds a renewable ten-year sales, marketing and distribution agreement with Carabao Group.

The UK launch will be backed by a "multi-million-pound" marketing campaign, scheduled to start in the Summer, the company said. Activity will include sampling and sponsorship deals with both Reading FC and Chelsea FC.

The UK version of the product contains less sugar and more carbonation than its Thai counterpart. "Carabao has higher levels of carbonation than most other energy drinks in the market place," said Gutierrez. "I think it's part of the appeal."

Carabao Group's website lists the sucrose content of the product as 43g per 25cl can. Gutierrez said the UK version would contain 11g per 10cl.

The CEO was mindful of a sugar tax in the UK market, but said 50% of Carabao's portfolio does not contain any sugar. "By the end of the year," he added, "75% will be either low or no sugar." Flavour extensions are scheduled to launch in the Autumn. 

The drink carries an RRP of GBP1.19 (US$1.72) per 32.5cl sleek can.

"It's the same price as the market leader [Red Bull] but with 30% more liquid," Gutierrez said. "The market in the UK is split between 25cl cans and large cans. We've positioned ourselves very clearly in the centre ground."

Beyond the UK, Gutierrez is eyeing "larger Western European markets" as well as the Middle East. 

The brand is currently produced at Carabao Group's facilities in Thailand. "We're exploring options to move production closer to the point of consumption as soon as we can," Gutierrez added. 

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