5 September, 2013


The Australian Beverages Council, representing manufacturers and distributors of energy drinks, has today hit back at claims made in the media alleging excessive consumption of energy drinks by ‘a third of teenagers’.

“The reported claims of a sleep specialist at a children’s hospital have been grossly misquoted. From a very small sample of only 110 people, the specialist reported 35 per cent of teenagers consumed at least two cans of energy drinks per day. It is an overreach to suggest ‘a third of teenagers’ have excessive consumption based off this sample as is being reported” the Council’s CEO Mr Geoff Parker said.

“By law energy drinks are clearly labelled that they are not suitable for children and no more than two per day should be consumed. These regulations, in addition to a cap on the caffeine content, equivalent to an instant cup of coffee for a 250mL can (80mg), make our energy drink regulations the toughest in the world. If a fraction of the population are overconsuming, no amount of regulation will combat a lack of common sense.

“Government data released as part of a broad ranging review into caffeine paints a clear picture of where teenagers get their caffeine from. In the 14-16 year old bracket, just 3.8% of their total caffeine intake is from energy drinks. The caffeine this age group gets from coffee is nearly ten times that from energy drinks, at 32%. Chocolate, flavoured milk, tea and other drinks all contributed 56% of caffeine in the diet for 14-16 year olds and other foods made up the remaining 6% of caffeine intake.

“Results from a recent national caffeine consumption Galaxy Poll of 1,105 Australians aged 15-49 years old backs up the Government data. Coffee comprised 52% of the average person’s caffeine intake and tea was 18%. Energy drinks across the whole population of 15-49 year olds comprised just 5% of total caffeine. “The national poll also revealed evidence of very low consumption of energy drinks in the 15-17 year old bracket in the last seven days. Out of the total of 711,000 15-17 year olds in Australia:

  • 87% of them have had no energy drink in the last seven days
  • 13% have consumed one energy drink in the last seven days
  •  Overall, across 15-17 year olds, the average consumption of energy drink is 0.3 cans in the last seven days
  • Overall, across 15-17 year olds, only 5% have had 4 or more energy drinks in the last seven days.

“In considering caffeine in the diet and any proposed changes to the regulations, the Government must recognise further regulations on energy drinks are not needed, but that coffee is the obvious place to start. On the one hand, coffee is the most highly caffeinated product and is by far the largest contributor to caffeine intake with up to 250mg in a long black. But then on the other hand, there is absolutely no limit on how much caffeine may be in a cup of coffee and no labelling requirements. No matter what lens you view it through, the scales just don’t balance” said Mr Parker.

Media Contact:
Geoff Parker
Chief Executive Officer
Australian Beverages Council
P: 0407 646 195

MR – industry rejects claims of excessive consumption of energy drinks by teenagers