Monster is making the switch to classify its energy drinks as foods

Monster is making the switch to classify its energy drinks as foods

Monster Beverage has confirmed it is changing the classification of its energy drinks to 'conventional foods' and will list caffeine content on its products.

In a statement sent to just-drinks late yesterday (14 February), the company said it is making the switch from defining its drinks as 'dietary supplement', partly to avoid criticism that it uses the classification to avoid regulation from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The company was thrust into the spotlight last year after a high-profile lawsuit and an investgiation of energy drinks by the FDA.

Monster said: "The company saw no reason to continue being subjected to the erroneous and misguided criticism that its Monster Energy drinks are being marketed as dietary supplements to avoid FDA regulation."

It also flagged that is has recently joined the American Beverage Association, which recommended it make the switch and list caffeine content on its cans.

A further reason for the change, the company said is to "eliminate the competitive disadvantage that Monster was under in certain states where energy drinks are labeled as conventional foods". It pointed to its competitor, Red Bull, which is exempt from sales tax and eligible for redemption with food stamps. 

"This change will have the effect of leveling the playing field with our major competitors," Monster said.

The changes will happen "as and when" new packaging is made, the company said.

It also confirmed it will not change the recipe of its drinks as a result of the re-classification.

"The ingredients currently in Monster Energy drinks will continue to be included in those drinks in the future," the company added.