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Red Bull
Red Bull

Red Bull is an energy drink sold by Red Bull GmbH, an Austrian company created in 1987. Red Bull has the highest market share of any energy drink in the world, with 6.790 billion cans sold in a year (as of 2018).[2][3][4][5]

Austrian entrepreneur Dietrich Mateschitz was inspired by an existing energy drink named Krating Daeng, which was first introduced and sold in Thailand by Chaleo Yoovidhya. He took this idea, modified the ingredients to suit the tastes of Westerners,[6] and, in partnership with Chaleo, founded Red Bull GmbH in 1987 in Chakkapong, Thailand. In Thai, daeng means red, and a krating (known in English as a gaur or Indian bison) is a large species of wild bovine native to South Asia. Yoovidhya's heirs own majority stakes in both brands, and they both use the same red bull on yellow sun logo while continuing to market the separate drinks to the respective Thai and Western markets.

Red Bull is sold in a tall and slim blue-silver can.[7] Originally only available in a single nondescript flavor and regular or sugar-free formulas, a line of "color editions" with artificial fruit flavors were added to the line beginning in 2013.[8] The Red Bull company slogan is "Red Bull gives you wings".[9] Rather than following a traditional approach to mass marketing, Red Bull has generated awareness and created a 'brand myth'[10][11] through proprietary extreme sport event series such as Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series, Red Bull Air Race, Red Bull Crashed Ice and stand-out stunts such as the Stratos space diving project.[12]

Red Bull's marketing also includes multiple sports team ownerships (Formula One teams Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Toro Rosso, football clubs RB Leipzig, FC Red Bull Salzburg, FC Liefering, Red Bull Brasil and New York Red Bulls), celebrity endorsements, and music, through its record label Red Bull Records.[13]

Energy drinks have been associated with health risks, such as masking the effects of intoxication when consumed with alcohol,[14] and excessive or repeated consumption can lead to cardiac and psychiatric conditions.[15][16] However, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) concluded that an adequate consumption of Red Bull and other popular energy drinks is safe and that the amount of caffeine in a standard Red Bull can is unlikely to interact adversely with other typical constituents of energy drinks or with alcohol.[17] Energy drinks have the effects that caffeine and sugar give, but there is no distinct evidence that the wide variety of other ingredients has any effect.[18]

History


In 1976, Chaleo Yoovidhya introduced a drink called Krating Daeng in Thailand, which means "red gaur" in English. It was popular among Thai truck drivers and labourers. While working for German manufacturer Blendax (later acquired by Procter & Gamble) in 1982, Dietrich Mateschitz travelled to Thailand and met Chaleo, owner of T.C. Pharmaceutical. During his visit, Mateschitz discovered that Krating Daeng helped cure his jet lag.[19] In 1984, Mateschitz co-founded Red Bull GmbH with Yoovidhya and turned it into an international brand. Each partner invested US$500,000 of savings to found the company. Yoovidhya and Mateschitz each held a 49 percent share of the new company. They gave the remaining two percent to Yoovidhya's son, Chalerm, but it was agreed that Mateschitz would run the company.[20] The product was launched in Austria in 1987.

In Thailand, energy drinks are most popular with blue-collar workers. Red Bull re-positioned the drink as a trendy, upscale drink, first introducing it at Austrian ski resorts. Pricing was a key differentiator, with Red Bull positioned as a premium drink and Krating Daeng as a lower cost item. In many countries, both drinks are available, dominating both ends of the price spectrum.[21]

In 1992, the product expanded to Hungary and Slovenia.[22] It entered Germany and the UK in 1994,[22] the United States (via California) in 1997[22] and the Middle East in 2000.[23] In 2008, Forbes magazine listed both Chaleo and Mateschitz as the 250th richest people in the world with an estimated net worth of US$4 billion.[24][25]

Red Bull GmbH is headquartered in Fuschl am See, an Austrian village of about 1,500 inhabitants near Salzburg. The company is 51 percent controlled by the Yoovidhya family who, for technical reasons, own the trademark in Europe and the US.[21]

In 1995, Krating Daeng authorized its drink. labelled as Red Bull, to be sold in China. Since 2014, the Austrian Red Bull (carbonated) has also been exported to China. This has created confusion since both drinks use the same brand name, in both English and Chinese.

Similarly, in Southeast Asia, Red Bull and Krating Daeng are often confused as both use the Red Bull name in their packaging, although they are two separate products aimed at different markets. The main difference is that Red Bull comes in a tall blue and silver can while the Thailand Red Bull, or Krating Daeng, is in a smaller gold can. The two drinks also differ in terms of taste—Red Bull has less sugar and is carbonated. The flavouring used for Red Bull is still produced in Bangkok and exported worldwide.[21]

Ingredients


Depending on the country, Red Bull contains different amounts of caffeine, taurine, B vitamins (B3, B5, B6, B12) and simple sugars (sucrose and glucose) in a buffer solution of carbonated water, baking soda and magnesium carbonate.[27][28] To produce Red Bull Sugarfree, sugars sucrose and glucose have been replaced by the sweeteners acesulfame K and aspartame/sucralose.[29]

Flavors


Red Bull identifies its flavors as "editions."

  • Original (amber)
  • Sugar-free (5 calories)
  • Total Zero (no calories)
  • Red (cranberry)
  • Ruby/Red (grapefruit)
  • Blue (blueberry)
  • Yellow/Tropical (tropical fruit/mango papaya)
  • Orange/Mandarin (mandarin/orange/orange-kumkvat)
  • Green/Kiwi (kiwi-apple)
  • White/Coconut (coconut berry)
  • Peach (peach-nectarine)
  • Pear Sugar-Free (pear)
  • Lime Sugar-Free (lime)
  • Purple/Acai Sugar-Free (açai)
  • Purple/Acai (acai berry)
  • Lime (lime-lemon)
  • Orange Sugar-free (orange)
  • Yellow/Tropical Sugar-free (tropical)
  • Winter Edition 2017/2018 (plum twist)
  • Summer Edition Beach Breeze (2019) (azure can, coconut/tutti-frutti)
  • Silver (dry lime)
  • Spring Edition (sakura cherry)
  • Orange Total Zero (orange)
  • Cherry Total Zero (wild cherry)
  • Blue Edition (grape)

Several of these flavors have been rebranded for special events (the special grapefruit flavor, for example, has been branded as the "Bull" Edition, the "Red Italian" Edition, and the "F1 Edition").

Health effects


Claims about the drink's effects and performance have been challenged on various occasions, with the UK's Advertising Standards Authority imposing advertising restrictions in 2001 in response to complaints recorded as early as 1997.[30]

Energy drinks have the effects that caffeine and sugar provide, but experts still argue about the possible effects of the other ingredients.[18] Most of the effects of energy drinks on cognitive performance, such as increased attention and reaction speed, are primarily due to the presence of caffeine.[31] There is evidence that energy drinks can increase mental[32][33][34] and athletic[35][36] performance. Performance during prolonged driving is increased after consumption of Red Bull.[34] Other tests for physical performance showed results such as increased endurance and power. Red Bull energy drink increased upper body muscle endurance during repeated Wingate tests in young healthy adults.[37] Excessive or repeated consumption of energy drinks can lead to cardiac and psychiatric conditions.[15][16]

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) concluded that exposure to taurine and glucuronolactone at the levels presently used in energy drinks is not a safety concern.[38] In a separate analysis, they also concluded that there is insufficient evidence to support a number of commercial health claims about taurine.[39] A review published in 2008 found no documented reports of negative or positive health effects associated with the amount of taurine used in energy drinks, including Red Bull. The review also states that though the caffeine and sugar levels in the energy drink are comparable to those present in coffee and fruit juice respectively, these levels have been shown to cause adverse health effects.[40]

In its scientific opinion on the safety of caffeine of 2015, the EFSA concluded that "consumption of other constituents of energy drinks at concentrations commonly present in such beverages would not affect the safety of single doses of caffeine up to 200 mg." Also, the consumption of alcohol, leading to a blood alcohol content of about 0.08%, would, according to the EFSA, not affect the safety of single doses of caffeine up to 200 mg. Up to these levels of intake, caffeine is unlikely to mask the subjective perception of alcohol intoxication. Habitual use of caffeine up to 400 mg per day does not.[17]

According to SAMHSA, "the number of emergency department (ED) visits" among people over age 12 related to energy drinks doubled between 2007 and 2011 in the US (from 10,068 to 20,783).[41]

The caffeine content of a single can of Red Bull is approximately 80–40 mg / 250 mL (32–15 mg / 100 mL).[42][43][26] This is about the same as one i.e. half a cup of coffee, or slightly less or more depending on the brewing method and country of production.[44] The caffeine level in Red Bull varies depending on country, as some countries have legal restrictions on how much caffeine is allowed in drinks. As is the case with other caffeinated beverages, Red Bull drinkers may experience adverse effects as a result of overuse. Excessive consumption may induce mild to moderate euphoria primarily caused by stimulant properties of caffeine and may also induce agitation, anxiety, irritability and insomnia.[45][46][31]

The general population of healthy adults is not at risk for potential adverse effects from caffeine if they limit their consumption to 400 mg per day, which is the equivalent of 5 standard cans, with one can being 250ml in volume.[47] Consumption of a single energy drink will not lead to excessive caffeine intake.[17][48] Adverse effects associated with caffeine consumption in amounts greater than 400 mg include nervousness, irritability, sleeplessness, increased urination, abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmia), and dyspepsia. Consumption also has been known to cause pupil dilation when taken with certain antidepressants or SSRIs.[48][49] Caffeine dosage is not required to be on the product label for food in the United States, unlike drugs, but some advocates are urging the FDA to change this practice. (Red Bull voluntarily lists the caffeine content in each can along with the ingredient list.)[50]

Market approval and legal status


Authorities in France, Denmark, and Norway initially kept Red Bull from being sold domestically.[51] However, as of 2014, it is on sale in all 28 member states of the European Union and in more than 167 countries around the world.

The French food safety agency was concerned about taurine. A Red Bull drink that did not contain taurine was introduced. The French refusal of market approval was challenged by the European Commission, and partially upheld by the European Court of Justice in 2004.[51] The French food safety agency relented in 2008, because it was unable to prove a definite health risk, taurine-related or not.[52]

In 2012, the Kuwaiti Ministry of Commerce banned Red Bull for people under 16 after it had allegedly caused heart attacks for a 16-year-old and a 21-year-old national squash team player.[53][54][55][56][57][58][59]

Litigation


In 2013, Red Bull told the Redwell Brewery, a Norfolk micro brewery, to change its name or face legal action, because it sounded too similar to Red Bull. The eight-man brewery in Norwich was told its name could "confuse" customers and "tarnish" its trademark.[60] The two companies reached a settlement permitting Redwell to continue using its name.[61]

In 2014, Red Bull faced a US$13 million settlement addressing two consumer class action lawsuits in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.[62] The listed plaintiffs were Benjamin Careathers, David Wolf, and Miguel Almarez[63] who sued the company for Red Bull's marketing and labeling, claiming that the company violated "express warranty and unjust enrichment" since their products were first launched by claiming performance-enhancing benefits from the drink's ingredients which were not substantiated by scientific studies.[64] The court hearing took place the morning of 1 May 2015 in an attempt to determine approval for the settlement. Customers that submitted claims then have the opportunity to receive a US$10 cash reimbursement or product option of US$15 in Red Bull products[65] within 150 days of the approved appeals.[66] Contrary to false reports from some news outlets, the lawsuit was not about the drink failing to give the consumer actual wings.[67]

Advertising


Since 1997, Red Bull has been making commercials bearing its slogan "Red Bull gives you wings." [68]

Red Bull's international marketing campaign targets young men mostly with extreme sports. These range from mountain biking,[69] BMX,[70] motocross,[71] windsurfing,[72] snowboarding,[73] skateboarding,[74] kayaking,[75] rowing,[76] wakeboarding,[77] cliff-diving,[78] parkour,[79] surfing,[80] skating,[81] freestyle motocross,[82] rallycross,[83] Formula 1 racing,[84] NASCAR racing,[85] to breakdancing.[86] Red Bull uses music and videogames, and has enlisted celebrities, such as Eminem (sponsoring the Red Bull "EmSee Battle Rap championships").[87] It hosts events like art shows and the "Red Bull Flugtag" (German for "flight day" or "flying day").[88]

Red Bull owns football teams, with clubs in Austria,[89] Germany,[90] the United States,[90] and Brazil[91] featuring the Red Bull trademark in their names. By associating the drink's image with these activities, the company seeks to promote a "cool" public image and raise brand power. The energy drink has created a market for over 150 related types of products.[92]

In the PlayStation 3's social gaming platform, PlayStation Home, Red Bull developed its own in-game island, specifically advertising its energy drink and the Red Bull Air Race event (for which the space is named) released in January 2009.[93] In late November 2009, Red Bull produced two new spaces, the Red Bull Illume space, and the Red Bull Beach space featuring the Red Bull Flugtag, both released on the same day.[94] In January 2012, Red Bull released its first personal space called the "Red Bull House of Skate" featuring an indoor skate park.[95]

On the Apple App store Red Bull also has a few apps which include: RedBull.com, Red Bull TV, The Red Bulletin, RBMA Radio, Red Bull iFunk, Wings For Life- Selfie Run. As well as some games on the app store which are: Bike Unchained, Red Bull Kart Fighter 3, Red Bull Air Race The Game, Red Bull Racers.[96]

In 2010, the company enlisted Adrian Newey to design a prototype racing car, the Red Bull X2010, for the videogame Gran Turismo 5.[97]

The Red Bull House of Art is an art fellowship program that was launched by Red Bull.[98][99] The program is held in multiple cities, most notably the Red Bull House of Art programs in Detroit, Michigan and São Paulo, Brazil, and the program typically consists of a three-month period during which time six to eight participants will create new artwork with the intent to display it in a final exhibition.[100][101] During the fellowship the artists receive unlimited access to the galleries and a stipend for art supplies.[102]

The program has received criticism as being an "elaborate advertising scheme",[103] as some of the artwork has been used in Red Bull advertising campaigns.[104]

In 2009, Red Bull added mainstream sport athletes to its roster of endorsements, which also includes persons involved in non-sporting activities.

See also


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