PepsiCo Inc. recently revealed the new energy drink Rockstar Energy + Hemp, which will be the company’s first beverage to include hemp. The drink features hemp seed extract alongside other botanical ingredients, like ginseng and guarana.
PepsiCo launched its new product April 3, but don’t rush out to buy it just yet. Unfortunately, it is only available in Germany for now. The U.S.-based conglomerate has not specified whether it will be expanding this offering to other countries or not.
Why did PepsiCo release this drink in Germany?
According to a recent article in Beverage Daily, PepsiCo acquired the Rockstar product line in 2020 for $3.85 billion. The Rockstar product line includes roughly 30 drink flavors, and is sold it 30 countries, including the U.S.
However, the Rockstar drinks have been an especially big hit in Germany, and the country represents PepsiCo’s second largest market. The brand controls roughly 35% of the energy drink market there.
PepsiCo’s German segment told Hemp Today that hemp-based products saw a 58% growth increase in 2020, making it “the trend of the year.” PepsiCo reportedly explained that over 4 million German households have already purchased at least one hemp product, which suggests why the conglomerate was so eager to add a hemp-based product to its lineup.
Rockstar Energy + Hemp is sold in grocery stores, convenience shops and petrol stations across Germany. They come in 500 ml containers priced at €1.69, which is equal to about $2.
Just Drinks reported that this new drink continues PepsiCo’s “innovation in the German flavoured energy segment.” This segment reportedly began last year with the launch of XD-Power drink, which includes an amino acid used for building muscle.
What does hemp add to a drink?
Rockstar Energy + Hemp drinks come in three flavors— original, tropical burst and prickly cactus. Despite the three flavor offerings, these drinks offer an “intense” hemp taste, PepsiCo told Just Drinks. This flavor likely comes from the hemp seed extract included in the product.
Some sources describe the flavor of hemp seed oil as rich, nutty or earthy and liken it to the taste of walnuts or sunflower seeds. However, hemp seed oil may add a lot more than flavor to food or beverages.
Hemp seed oil is gaining attention in the culinary world as a nutrient-dense finishing oil. It can be a bit different than hemp seed extract, though the two preparations may contain many of the same properties.
According to WebMD, hemp seed oil can:
Lower blood pressure
Promote heart health
Support a healthy pregnancy
WebMD explains that most of these benefits are attributed to the oil’s high levels of three important polyunsaturated fatty acids — linoleic acid, alpha-linolenic acid and gamma-linolenic acid. Hemp seed oil also reportedly has the ideal fatty acid ratio for health benefits, which is a 3:1 ratio of omega-6 (linoleic acid) to omega-3 (alpha-linolenic acid) fatty acids. This oil can also be a healthy source of proteins, minerals and antioxidants.
Media reports have not yet indicated which specific nutrients are in the Rockstar Energy + Hemp drinks, and the drink's high caffeine levels may not be aligned with certain health goals. However, if any of hemp's nutritional benefits are carried through to the product, Rockstar Energy + Hemp drinks could provide consumers a nice health boost along with the intended energy boost.