PepsiCo is making a big splash into the energy drink segment. The latest energy drink from Rockstar Energy is infused with hemp seed. This is definitely going to be a change from normal Rockstar drinks that are laced with upwards of 300 milligrams of caffeine in some of them.
The new Rockstar hemp-infused drinks are known as Rockstar Unplugged. “It’s a combination of herbals that can help us to relax, but not to sleep,” said Fabiola Torres, PepsiCo general manager and chief marketing officer of its energy business.
Admittedly, a Rockstar energy drink made from a combination of herbals to help you relax seems a bit strange. When you think of reasons why people are buying Rockstar energy drinks, helping to relax doesn’t come to mind.
But Rockstar Unplugged is targeted towards a completely different audience than what Rockstar Energy drinks are accustomed to. Normally the demographic that consumes the most energy drinks are men in the range of 18-34 years old. That is according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.
With Rockstar Unplugged, PepsiCo is going after a whole new audience. With the hemp-infused Rockstar Unplugged Pepsi is looking to target a younger, female base. A group that up until now they have largely not identified with.
Rockstar Unplugged is available starting February 1, 2022, nationwide. As a starting price, you can expect it to cost you $1.99 per can. The new hemp-infused drink is going to be available in smaller 12-ounce cans and will offer three different flavors to choose from: raspberry cucumber, passion fruit, and blueberry. The new drink is infused with hemp seed oil, spearmint, lemon balm, and only about 80 milligrams of caffeine.
This Is Different Than CBD-Infused Drinks
Being infused with hemp seed is very different than a CBD-infused drink. It’s important to clarify this because many consumers often think they are one and the same but they are not. It is true that they are both derived from hemp plants but the hemp seed being used in Rockstar Unplugged has little to no CBD. That means it also has less dramatic effects on people when consumed.
″[Hemp seed] doesn’t have any functionality, it comes from an herb,” Torres said. “Imagine you’re drinking an herbal tea, with caffeine. That’s it.”
Making the distinction between hemp and CBD is important as well because companies cannot legally sell CBD-infused food and beverages across state lines. That hasn’t stopped some of the smaller companies from taking a risk and selling CBD infused food and drinks. But it definitely keeps out the major players for the time being.
What Does the Future Hold
Hemp-seed-infused products don’t have the same legal hurdles as CBD-infused food and drinks do. But PepsiCo recognizes that there are still challenges and a lot of unknowns about this market segment.
Rockstar released a hemp-infused beverage in Germany last April. Up to this point they have not seen a ton of growth in that market so this is really a test to see how things might be taken by the US market.
If I had to guess I’d say that this hemp-infused drink would see similar results as it has in Germany. When the time comes and CBD-infused food and drinks are legal nationwide then I believe you will start to see massive growth within the industry. But until then my guess is that it will be met with mixed results. Time will tell.