Monster Beverage Corp., maker of the energy drink Monster, is expanding its product portfolio to include a 20-ounce carbonated soft drink called Mutant and a bottled water energy drink called Monster Hydro.
Mutant is what its makers call a “super soda,” packed with 115 mg of caffeine per 20 oz. bottle, a tad higher than other beverages in the category like Mtn Dew. In fact, PepsiCo’s Mtn Dew, Diet Mtn Dew and Kickstart are the Mutant’s main targets, says Rodney Sacks, chairman and CEO of Monster.
The company’s Hydro, a non-carbonated energy hydration drink, is expected to hit the market soon. The beverage is lightly sweetened with natural flavors and will be available in 500 ml cans packed with 120 mg of caffeine per can – less than traditional Monster beverages. There is about 86 mg of caffeine in a one-serving, 240 g can of Monster Energy.
The launch of Monster’s new energy drinks comes as groups like the Center for Science in the Public Interest have called on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to add safety warnings to energy drinks.
Energy drinks, including Monster, as well as 5 Hour Energy, have been linked to deaths and numerous side effects including high blood pressure, hyperactivity and headaches. A new report published in Pediatric Emergency Care found that teens between the ages of 12 and 18 who had consumed the beverages were more likely to experience problems such as headache, anger and difficulty breathing.
A recent case study published in the journal BMJ Case Reports noted a case of liver inflammation. After ruling out usual causes, researchers determined that the patient’s condition was linked to regular consumption of four to five energy drinks every day for three weeks prior to falling ill.
Dr. Vikas Khullar, University of Florida fellow in Gastroenterology and Hepatology, told Time that while science cannot speculate on the safety of energy drinks, “anyone with liver or heart disease should consume energy drinks with caution.”