Pepsi has launched X Fuel into Australia’s fast-growing energy drink market, a lemon-flavoured beverage containing taurine, guarana, caffeine, B vitamins and two herbal stimulants – Gingko and Maté.The drink is a challenge to market leader, Frucor Beverage’s V, which has garnered 60% of sales in 16 months, to Coca-Cola’s Lift Plus which was released six weeks ago and to Austria’s Red Bull.Its branding results from a joint venture between Pepsi and Planet X, a youth marketing company which targets 18-24-year-old males through an eponymous commercial television program, ‘x’ magazine, Planet X Online, and the Xtreme Games which feature street sports including roller blading and dirt bikes.Between $A5m and $A6m is being spent on promotion the brand which enters a market currently worth about $A80m a year and which Pepsi-Cola Bottler Australia’s marketing director, Ian Tetro, estimates will be worth about $A200m a year within 12 months.”It’s a drink that’s about wellness and energy,” Tetro said. “Its point of difference being its herbal content.”It was also a day/night drink compared with competitors’ daytime or club/dance scene products. X Fuel will sell in the $A2-$A3 range compared with $A1.50-$A2 for ‘normal’ soft drinks.Coke’s Lift Plus, described as “a zesty citrus drink with a herbal tang”, also containing B vitamins, guarana and Ginseng, was launched in New Zealand in February 1999 and Coca-Cola is claiming it is now second in the sales stakes.

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