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At the end of 2011, a study was commissioned by EFSA to the Consortium Nomisma-Areté, with the objective of gathering consumption data for “energy” drinks (ED) in specific consumer groups (adults, adolescents and children) in EU. The study also aims at estimating, for each consumer group, the exposure to specific active ingredients (caffeine, taurine, and D-glucurono-y-lactone) from ED consumption, and the relative contribution of ED to the total caffeine exposure. Moreover, specific consumption habits (co-consumption with alcohol and consumption associated to intense physical exercise) were analysed for adolescents and adults.
Between February and November 2012, the study team conducted an EU-wide questionnaire-based survey - involving more than 52.000 participants from 16 different EU Member States - among adults (14.500 participants), adolescents (32.000), and children (5.500).
The highest prevalence of consumption was observed for the adolescent consumers group (68%). In adults prevalence for consumption was 30%, and 18% in children. Among consumers, no relevant differences were observed in the target groups for prevalence of high chronic consumers (12% in adults and adolescents, 16% in children) and high acute consumers (11% for adults and 12% for adolescents).
Concerning co-consumption with alcohol, similar prevalence was observed for adults (56%) and adolescents (53%). Consumption associated to sport activities showed prevalence of 52% in adults and 41% in adolescents.
Among ED consumers, the estimated average exposures from ED to caffeine, taurine and Dglucurono- y-lactone were higher in children (1,01, 12,83 and 5,13 mg/kg b.w./day, respectively) than adolescents (0,38, 4,6 and 1,65 mg/kg b.w./day, respectively) and adults (0,32, 3,82 and 1,78 mg/kg b.w./day, respectively). The calculated contribution from ED consumption to total caffeine exposure was 8% for adults, 13% for adolescents and 43% for children. The contribution increased for the high chronic consumers to 13% in adults, 16% in adolescents and 48% in children.