Taurine time for the French as Red Bull reformulates

By Neil Merrett

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Caffeine Energy drink

French resistance to selling the Red Bull energy drink appears to
be waning with the beverage soon to be reformulated in the country
to include the controversial amino acid taurine for the first

Red Bull, one of Europe's most popular energy drinks, was banned in France until 1 April this year due to concerns in the country its high caffeine content, with particular concern over the level of research available on the use of taurine as an ingredient.

However, a company spokesperson said that while it has been selling a modified formulation of the product containing another amino acid known as arginine since April, it now expects to offer the product with taurine to its Gallic customers in the next few months.

Taurine relaunch Group communication coordinator Vera Dussausaye told BeverageDaily.com that although there was no specific launch date set for the taurine incarnation of Red Bull, which is already being sold in 140 countries, it will be available in France soon.

"We don't have a precise date for the arrival of Red Bull taurine on the F rench market," she stated.

"However, we know that we will stop importing Red Bull with the arginine formula at the latest mid-July."

Despite some health officials continuing to stress ongoing issues over the ingredients being used in the product, Red Bull claims that the drink is perfectly safe for consumption.

Dussausaye added that French regulations on the drink, which contains a mix of caffeine, amino acid and B-complex vitamins, had prevented it from capitalising on a very important market for energy drink demand.

Market potential While the UK and Germany currently hold the largest markets for energy drinks in Europe, with combined sales of $4.6 billion.

France is the region's fastest growing market with 18 per cent CAGR, according to findings released last year by Global Industry Analysts.

"It took a long time to get a product with special ingredients in a complex composition through all the official channels," stated Dussausaye.

Red Bull says that despite French concerns over potential health fears, the continued strength of its brand reflected the stringent testing required for the drink and every individual ingredient included in it.

"Last year alone, over three and a half billion cans and bottles of Red Bull energy drink were consumed in over 143 countries across the world and no one anywhere has ever shown any link between [the product] and harmful effects," the company stated.

"Red Bull could only have such global sales because health authorities across the world have concluded that [it] is safe to consume," added the company.

French gall Much like Asterix the Gaul, a French comic strip character who remains the last resistance to Roman occupation of Europe, the French government had remained one of the few markets in the bloc not to embrace the beverage in its domestic market.

However, while a rejuvenating potion may have been behind Asterix and his fellow Gaul's super strength, it now seems that a stimulant beverage is set to crush staunch French opposition.

The fight over selling the product in the country may not be over yet though, with the French Health Minister Roselyne Bachelot stressing that the government will continue to scrutinise research on energy drinks and ingredients such as taurine very closely.

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