Photograph — nutrifusion.com

A popular energy drink is being taken off store shelves in Zambia with a ban on further production. This comes after a complaint from the country’s medicine regulator suggesting that the drink had been spiked with viagra. The drink, Natural Power SX high energy drink is produced by Zambia based beverage manufacturer, Revin Zambia Limited and exported to Uganda, Zimbabwe, Malawi and South Africa.

News about the discovery of Sildenafil Citrate in the drink first came to light last December. Since then, Zambia had ordered Revin to withdraw the drink from the market. Sildenafil is a medication used to treat erectile dysfunction and pulmonary arterial hypertension and should not be taken without a prescription.

According to the Uganda National Drug Authority, similar findings were made in Uganda after a customer complained of constant sweating and a nearly six-hour erection. “Results from both Zimbabwe and South Africa correlated with those obtained from the Foods and Drugs Laboratory that indicated a positive presence of Sildenafil Citrate,” a local authority statement said. Hence the ban on further production until remedial measures are established to stop adulteration.

Malawi banned the energy drink in January after tests over safety concerns in Zambia and Uganda. Its Bureau of Standards in conjunction with its Pharmacy, Medicines and Poisons Board released a statement saying the presence of Sildenafil in the drink has severe life-threatening adverse effects on consumers. Sold in 500ml plastic cans, Natural Power SX high energy drink is said to be quite popular among Zambian men.

Africa’s energy drink market

Energy drinks are hugely popular in African markets. They form a fast-growing segment of the soft drink market due to rising demand for convenience beverages and changing lifestyle. Packed with sugar and caffeine, energy drinks continue to receive attention from busy African millennials who increasingly rely on it for a regular boost of energy.

Globally, the energy drinks market is expected to reach $84.80 billion by 2025.  Africa’s energy drink market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 2.8 percent in the forecast period between 2018 and 2023, according to a report by Mordor Intelligence.

An expanding middle class and an increase in urbanisation will serve as a catalyst to this projected market growth. The continents growing youth population also makes it a fertile market for energy drink investors. This explains why countries like South Africa and Nigeria remain the biggest markets for energy drinks with increasing sales year on year.

Currently, major key players in the market are international brands like Red Bull, Coca-Cola and Monster Beverage Corporation. But in time, local manufacturers like South Africa’s MoFaya and hopefully Zambia’s Revin will pose as major competition as they remain focused on building their own community to contribute to market growth.

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