Prime Energy containing high levels of caffeine is coming to the UK but restrictions may stop children and teenagers from buying the cans
A new range of Prime drinks containing high levels of caffeine are starting to arrive in the UK.
While major stores and supermarkets are yet to sell Prime Energy, smaller convenience stores and off-licences are now getting their hands on limited stock of the latest range by the viral drinks company.
But while Prime Hydration has been a huge hit with children and young teens, the new Prime Energy range contains high levels of caffeine that means in America, where it is currently available, it is only being sold to adults.
So what are the rules likely to be for buying Prime Energy in the UK?
What is Prime Energy?
Celebrity founders of the viral drink KSI and Logan Paul confirmed at the start of this year that they will be introducing a new range to UK shelves this spring called Prime Energy.
Their original product - Prime Hydration - has proved to be extremely popular over the last six months particularly among young people, with shops selling out in seconds, bottles trading hands on the internet for up to £150 and long snaking queues outside supermarkets when there are rumours of a fresh delivery.
Unlike Prime Hydration, which comes in a plastic bottle, Prime Energy is in a can.
It is made in a variety of different flavours including Orange Mango, Strawberry Watermelon, Blue Raspberry, Lemon Lime and Tropical Punch.
And while the main ingredients in sports drink Prime Hydration centres around water, coconut water and electrolytes Prime Energy has an extra ingredient - caffeine.
How does Prime Energy compare with other energy drinks?
The Chartered Trading Standards Institute explains that the legal definition of what constitutes an energy drink depends on the amount of caffeine contained in the liquid per litre with the threshold being 150mg of caffeine per litre.
Any energy drink, it says, that has 150mg of caffeine (mg/l) or higher must be labelled with the term ‘High caffeine content. Not recommended for children or pregnant or breast-feeding women.” The label must also include the caffeine content of the product in mg per 100ml.
While Prime Hydration has fast become a hit among the very young - Prime Energy is expected to be marketed at an older, more adult audience with the drink's release online and in the US so far confined to people over the age of 18 because of its high caffeine content.
Prime Energy contains 200mg of caffeine in each 335ml - or 12fl oz serving.
By comparison - there are 80mg of caffeine in a 250ml can of Red Bull which is roughly the same as in a standard cup of coffee of the same size. Prime Energy also contains more caffeine than fellow energy drink Monster where 473ml-sized cans hold 160mg of caffeine.
What does the law say about energy drinks?
In 2019 the government announced plans to press ahead with a policy to make the sales of energy drinks to under 16s illegal but then the Covid-19 pandemic hit and the law was never finalised - meaning the sale of energy drinks to children is not illegal in England.
However many shops and supermarkets voluntarily no longer sell the high-caffeine drinks to youngsters under the age of either 16 or 18 depending on their policy.
Retail giant Asda, which has been Prime Hydration's main stockist since 2022 and is reportedly set to stock Prime Energy in the spring, was among a number of supermarkets which announced in 2018 that they were introducing policies to restrict the sale of drinks high in caffeine to under 16s.
The company said after listening to customers and to the concerns of parents and teachers on the impact high caffeine drinks can have on children’s behaviour and learning, it decided it wanted to be proactive and support parents and teachers in 'limiting young people’s access to these drinks'.
Since then anyone who wishes to purchase an energy drink in Asda but appears under age has to provide suitable ID before paying.
What about smaller shops?
The Association of Convenience Stores, which represents local stores, says while the sale of energy drinks to children and teenagers is not illegal, many stores do now have their own individual policies in place.
The organisation also offers some advice and 'a menu of options' for retailers which outline the types of policies or potential guidelines they too could adopt which have been successful with other member shops should there be concerns about children buying energy drinks.
Among the suggestions are policies that restrict sales by age or limit the number of drinks young customers can buy together with advice on how these policies could be implemented.
There are also suggestions, contained in the guide, as to how to engage and work with neighbouring schools who may be concerned with children buying high-caffeine drinks and this, it suggests, might involve not selling to children in uniform or at certain times of the day popular with pupils.
The guidance document adds: "Its intention is to provide you with a menu of options that you could employ as you deem appropriate in your business to respond to community concerns."