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Appetite. 2013 Jun;65:132-8. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2013.02.011. Epub 2013 Feb 16.

Adolescent and young adult perceptions of caffeinated energy drinks. A qualitative approach.

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Institute of Food, Nutrition and Human Health, Massey University, Albany, Auckland, New Zealand.


Understanding consumer attitudes towards foods remains critically important for manufacturers, retailers and governing bodies. Regulation within the food industry should therefore support food choice whilst protecting members of society. There have been concerns regarding beverages marketed as 'energy drinks' and the levels of caffeine in these drinks. Focus groups were used to assess participants' perceptions and understandings of caffeinated energy drinks across three demographic age groups: 16-21, 22-28 and 29-35 year olds with the narrow age range providing a focused investigation of the demographic group specifically targeted by industry. Thematic analysis revealed a number of differences in participants' perceptions of energy drinks between age groups in relation to themes of advertising, age, alcohol, brand, efficacy, energy seeking, gender, sugar, peer influence, product attributes, safety and taste. Future implications for the use of qualitative research within the health promotion industry are discussed.

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