Monster Beverage Corp (MNST), PepsiCo, Inc. (PEP): Will an Energy Drink Ban Impact the Soda Market?

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Shares of Monster Beverage Corp (NASDAQ:MNST) fell recently as energy drinks continue to undergo scrutiny by government officials. The American Medical Association announced that it would get behind a ban on energy drinks, leading many to wonder if an across-the-board ban of products like Monster and Red Bull may mean that these products will soon be taken off the shelves.

Until recently, Monster Beverage Corp (NASDAQ:MNST) was a great stock for investors, reporting a 6.5% increase in net profits for its first quarter. At that time, Monster held a 32.7% share of the market, beaten only slightly by Red Bull, which held 35% of the market.

Monster Beverage Corp (NASDAQ:MNST)

Soda market down

The news was dismal for the soda industry earlier this year as energy drinks continued to push them to second place. When PepsiCo, Inc. (NYSE:PEP) announced its quarterly earnings, sales were down for the third year in a row. Net income for the company was down $1.08 billion from $1.13 billion the previous year.

At the same time, sales of energy drinks have risen, jumping 14.3% in 2012. Including more caffeine than coffee, the drinks are especially popular with young people, leading to the health concerns making headlines today.

The concerns have become so prevalent that medical professionals and health organizations are now asking the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to regulate energy drinks. This comes on the heels of an increase in emergency room visits due to the drinks, says the Associated Press. For energy drink specialists like Red Bull, tight regulation or a full-out ban could spell the end. But for companies like PepsiCo, Inc. (NYSE:PEP), it might just be the push that consumers need to return to regular carbonated beverages.

The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO): Still on top

Not one to be outdone, The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO) released its Full Throttle energy drink in 2004. But the drink has never quite caught on like its competitors, holding only 1.28% of the energy drink market despite aggressive advertising.

The shift toward energy drinks doesn’t seem to have phased Coca-Cola, however. Consistently one of the best-performing brands in the world, Coca-Cola sales have grown 10% over the past five years. Coca-Cola builds its brand by never relaxing its marketing strategy. The company continues to bombard the public with advertisements, with its ads becoming a part of American culture. As a result, Interbrand named it the world’s most valuable brand in 2011.

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