Scientific Opinions, Publications & Reports

Statement on studies designed to investigate the safety in use of taurine and D-glucurono-γ-lactone in "energy" drinks by the Scientific Panel on food additives, flavourings, processing aids and materials in contact with food (AFC)

application/pdf Statement

Documents were received from the company Red Bull GmbH in July 2004 and were initially discussed at a meeting of the Working Group on Additives of the Scientific Panel on Food Additives, Flavourings, Processing Aids and Materials in Contact with Foods in September 2004. The Working Group stressed that its views are advanced without prejudice, for the assistance of the company, and should not be considered as an endorsement of arguments put by the company, nor a binding constraint on the Panel’s eventual discussions and assessment once the final results and submissions are received. The Working Group considered that taken as a whole and with additional appropriate supporting argumentation and evidence, there was likely to be sufficient information to warrant a re-evaluation of taurine and D-glucurono-γ-lactone at the end of the proposed studies.
Publication date: 17/02/2005
Last updated: 17/02/2005






In 1982, Dietrich Mateschitz learned about so-called “tonic drinks”, which enjoyed wide popularity in Asia.  While he was sitting sitting in the bar at the Mandarin Hotel in Hong Kong he got the idea of marketing those particular functional drinks outside Asia.  This was not a new idea, but a variation on the Lucozade theme, another popular energy drink marketed by Smith Kline Beecham.  However, Red Bull included other ingredients to achieve a different flavour.

So it was that in 1984, Mateschitz founded the Red Bull GmbH company. He fine-tuned the product, developed a unique marketing concept and started selling Red Bull Energy Drink on the Austrian market in 1987. Red Bull rapidly gained in popularity, giving people wings right from the start.  In 1992, Red Bull touched down in its first foreign market, in Hungary. Today, Red Bull is energizing over 100 countries around the globe, such that many superstores have copied the idea with their own brand products, which invariably are inferior in one aspect or another.

Red Bull Energy Drink
Category: US Energy Drinks; Packaging: 8.3 oz can

While our opinion on Red Bull's flavor hasn't changed -- it is truly painful to drink -- we will give Red Bull credit where credit is due. Namely, the brand power that this product has created is truly amazing. Many people in the industry may hate Red Bull, but without Red Bull there wouldn't even be a market for the other 150+ products currently crowding the shelves. However, Red Bull faces some potential bumps in the road in the coming 24 months. First, the product has completely oversaturated the market -- Red Bull is in just about anywhere that you can fit a mini-cooler as well as mass merchandisers, bike shops, bars, etc, etc, etc. This could result in Red Bull becoming passe by removing the "cool" factor that made the brand so successful. Second, while other companies are improving formulations, flavors, and packaging, Red Bull stays the same. Will consumers find something that truly works better? Third, from our point of view Red Bull has a less-than-stellar industry reputation -- and many people are praying for their demise as a result. Finally, given that Red Bull is a one trick pony (compared to others such as Coke and Pepsi), the party is in serious jeopardy if sales start to slump, a price war starts, or press over energy drink health concerns start to proliferate (hypothetically speaking). Overall, tremendous brand power right now, but does it have true staying power to last another 5 years as number one?

Ingredients: carbonated water, sucrose, glucose, sodium citrate, taurine, glucuronolactone, caffeine, inositol, niacin, D-pantothenol, pyridoxine HCL, vitamin B12, artificial flavours, colors

Nutrition Facts: Serving Size: 8.3 fl. oz Servings per Container: 1 Amount per serving: Calories: 110 Total Fat: 0g Sodium: 200mg Protein: 0g Total Carbohydrates: 28g Sugars: 27g


Red Bull Sugar Free
Category: US Energy Drinks; Packaging: 8.3 fl oz can

(Second testing) When we first heard about Red Bull Sugar Free we were extremely intrigued. First of all, this is a real test for Red Bull in that this is their first product extension in the US. Second, when you take the sugar out of a medicinal tasting beverage like Red Bull, we weren't quite sure what to expect. The flavor is basically the same as the original but with artificial sweetener. Not very exciting. In addition, they used the same packaging as the original. Not very innovative. Overall, it's the same old stuff, but with a different sweetener. This being said, we don't think Red Bull passed the product extension test.

Ingredients: carbonated water, sodium citrate, taurine, glucuronolactone,caffeine, acesulfame k, aspartame, inositol, xanthan gum, niacinamide, calcium pantothenate, pyridoxine hcl, vitamin b12, artificial flavors, colors

Nutrition Facts: serving size 1 can; calories 10; fat 0g; sodium 200mg; total carb 3g; sugars og; protein less than 1g; niacin 100%; vitamin b6 250%; vitamin b12 80%; pantothenic acid 50%


Red Bull Energy Supplement
Category: Int'l Energy Drinks; Packaging: 150ml glass

Right from the start, Red Bull Thai edition looks quite different than its US or European counterpart. Packaged in a 150ml glass bottle and labeled as a liquid vitamin supplement, the packaging definitely presents the product in a different light than the stock 8.2 oz can that energy drinks usually come in. As for the taste, the core flavor is the same as the other formulations, but this one is not carbonated and is much sweeter than the others. Not too mention that the taste is actually palatable. Overall, much better than the US formulation. Give it a try.



More than a billion cans of Red Bull are consumed each year. Responsibility for the unparalleled success of the world’s No. 1 energy drink is shared by the company's 1,850 employees, of whom around 200 work at Red Bull Headquarters in Fuschl am See, not far from Salzburg/Austria.

Red Bull is much more than a soft drink. It was made for moments of increased physical and mental stress and improves endurance, alertness, concentration and reaction speed. In short: it vitalizes body and mind. The effectiveness of Red Bull Energy Drink has been proven by a large number of scientific studies and is appreciated by many of the world's top athletes and drivers, opinion-leaders and hard-working people with active lifestyles.








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