Energy Drinks: Blu vs. Red Bull
I will admit that I have never been a fan of energy drinks. Coffee has always been my pick me up of choice and did not see the need to switch or seek an alternative.
However, I recently I had the opportunity to partake of some energy drinks at a friend's get together where I tried the energy drinks Red Bull and another one by the name of BLU, and yes that is the correct spelling.
I was very pleasantly surprised by one and disappointed by the other.
There was a noticeable difference in the initial taste and aftertaste which I did not expect from one such popular and well known brand.
I began, out of curiosity, researching both drinks. Both are about the same size, approximate 8 ounces and both contain about the same ingredients. Both have catchy slogans "Red Bull Gives You Wings" and "BLU 4 Life".
The difference was in price, taste and after effects. I must also admit that until recently I thought that Taurine, a main ingredient in both energy drinks, was the name used to call people who were born under the zodiac sign of Taurus,but I digress.
Red Bull was first manufactured in Austria in 1987 and it's still produced there, based in part from an energy drink popularly consumed in Thailand. It's also the largest energy drink in the market as of this writing.
Blu has its origins in Israel in the year 2000 and like Red Bull, its been certified as parve,and it's produced in Poland. It has a large following in Europe and the Middle East.
After some initial thoughts I tried a non scientific experiment using both energy drinks with about 18 of my friends under the promise of a full fledged BBQ if they indulged me with my activity.
A short pre-experiment survey was taken of the 16 (two were my assistants and did not participate in the taste trials) participants; 7 had never had an energy drink, 2 had had other energy drinks besides the ones used in the experiment, 7 had had Red Bull before, none had had BLU.
The group was separated into groups of 8 with two acting as assistants and note takers. Both groups were blindfolded, with much fanfare.
Both groups were served the energy drinks in non descriptive foam cups and were asked to smell, taste and rate their drinks. Each 8 person group tasted Red Bull first and recorded their experiences.
After about 1 hour the groups were again blindfolded and were given Blu and again were asked to rate their experience. At no point were the groups told which drink they were tasting first or second.
The results were kind of surprising. 14 out of the 16 people in the test groups rated Blu as having a pleasant aroma. 13 out of 16 rated Blu as having a much better flavor.
15 out of 16 said that Blu had no after-taste, as compared to a reported strong after-taste which they claimed that Red Bull had. 12 out of 16 liked the presentation (can) of Blu better than the can of Red Bull. 16 out of 16 claimed equal amounts of energy with both drinks, not surprising since all had two drinks each, so this result was nullified.
Note: the list of ingredients appears similar in both drinks although Blu appears to have a higher concentration of the B vitamins complex, which are natural energy boosters and it contains less sugar.
Both drinks contain about as much caffeine as one strong cup of coffee, approximately 80mg. 6 out of 16 reported a slight headache after Red Bull with only 2 out of 16 after drinking Blu. The majority (15 out of 16) found Blu to be less carbonated than Red Bull and easier to drink.
As for price Blu retails (if you can find it) at about $1.50 to $1.99 per 8oz can and Red Bull about $2.00 to $2.50 per 8oz can. Brand recognition is no contest with Red Bull being clearly recognized even without the name just by an image of a, you guessed it, a red bull.
I must say that it was a little disappointing at the lack of availability of Blu in my local area. I was only able to find it at only 4 stores, but at the reasonable price of $1.50 per can I did not complaint much.
Red Bull has had some controversy associated with it in recent years including the discovery of traces of cocaine in some Red Bull Soda cans produced in Austria and some deaths that were associated with the consumption of the product during extraneous exercises or during periods of stress. Red Bull was briefly banned in some European countries such as France but since then all bans have been lifted.
In April and June 2009, batches of "Red Bull Cola" drinks imported from Austria were found to contain between 0.1 - 0.3 micrograms of cocaine per litre, according to Hong Kong officials. Wikipedia
Red Bull has been subject to bans in France, Denmark and Norway for several years but they have been lifted afterwards and the energy drink was re-legalized in those countries. Wikipedia.
I thus far have been unable to find much information associated with Blu and any ill effects associated with its consumption but it would be safe to assume to be the same as those effects caused by over consumption of any energy drink, including Red bull.
At the conclusion; 13 out of 16 preferred BLU overall over Red Bull and would consider buying it in the future.
Keep in mind that if you intend on mixing any energy drink with alcohol you are mixing a depressant (alcohol) with a stimulant (energy drink) a dangerous combination if taken in excess or during prolonged periods of time.
As for me, I am not fully convinced of the need to consume energy drinks and I think I'll stick with good old java for the time being but will not discard the possibility of occasionally indulging with some BLU.
© 2011 Luis E Gonzalez
Luis E Gonzalez (author) from Miami, Florida on September 03, 2014:
Bobby: Same with me. I drink Blu occasionally but haven't had a RedBull since I wrote this.
Bobby on September 03, 2014:
I used to be a big cunsumer of Redbull but after trying BLU I haven't had another Redbull since. Glad to see its growing and is now in quite a few states including my( Alabama). I heard there retail should be launching soon so that will be great to buy it in stores and not just the bars.
Luis E Gonzalez (author) from Miami, Florida on August 25, 2013:
OH Guy: Thanks for the comment. I do think that their product is great but their marketing leaves room for improvement.
OK guy on August 23, 2013:
BLU is great, but if it fails here it is not because of the product, but the company. The whole company is trash. They lie and cheat and will tell people anything to make a sale. They are unorganized and really only think for themselves, not the consumer. They are just skimming by because they do not know how to run a business.
Luis E Gonzalez (author) from Miami, Florida on August 30, 2011:
tomy101: You are correct anything done without control is bad and kids should not be exposed to something as potentially strong as an energy drink, and when you take into account that you were "addicted" to the stuff it really speaks volumes.
Christopher Hyer from Midland, Texas on August 30, 2011:
Great Article, seems like Cocaine being found in Red Bull does not seem to bother many people on here. I find it disturbing to know that my kid can go to a Wall Mart and buy this out of a vending machine, and possibly have Coca in this drink. So much for FDA restrictions and personally I liked Red Bull so much , I found myself addicted to it. So whatever it has in it, well as the vending company says on their website , "We only market this product to kids 15-35 age range. I am in my 40s , so I cant handle it. Good article. Awareness is where it all stands..
Luis E Gonzalez (author) from Miami, Florida on August 19, 2011:
Lauren: You are correct, anything in excess is probably not good, but as you say a little here and there is not really bad.
Lauren on August 19, 2011:
I have always been an avid redbull consumer, however, after trying BLU energy at a recent promotional event in Myrtle Beach, my energy drink choice has changed. Both taste similar, but I agree that Blu has a better after taste, and less carbonation. For all of you that are saying how energy drinks are bad for you, you need to relax. If you consume large doses then yes... or if you mix with alcohol and consume a lot, then yes. But a can here or there for a boost of energy is fine, just as caffeine in coffee is.
flagostomos on May 19, 2011:
Interesting experiment. I've never had Blu before but one that they sell at the store I work is NOS and I can't enough of it.
Ancillotti from Brasil, Vitoria - ES on May 17, 2011:
Nice Hub! I liked very much!
Ancillotti from Brasil, Vitoria - ES on May 17, 2011:
Nice Hub! I liked very much!
Eiddwen from Wales on April 18, 2011:
A great hub with much food for thought.
Also very well presented and informative.
Thomas Silvia from Massachusetts on April 17, 2011:
Hi LuisEGonzalez, great hub with lots of great information, but I don't like energy drinks and would not even want to trying one . I'll stick to getting my pick me up from coffee .
golfgal - Lisa on April 17, 2011:
I only tried Red Bull once out of curiosity and didn't like the taste very much. I do however love starbucks cold coffees. I will give Blu a go at it when I find it. Thanks for the survey, it was very good consumer research. I loved the hub.
Carolee Samuda from Jamaica on April 17, 2011:
I never liked energy drinks in the first place. I think if you eat right, get enough sleep and exercise, you will have all the energy you need to get through the day or night. When I feel lethargic I get natural herbal drinks call Roots Wine, made locally in Jamaica.
Great hub, like the information.
Denizee on April 16, 2011:
I've been anti energy drinks since they first put them on the market for sale here. I saw no reason to artificially need that much intense energy when there are other alternatives which are more healthy. Red Bull is very popular in my state and I noticed my son was buying and drinking them and voiced my opinion on the downside of these drinks. The worst are the commercials for Red Bull - seeing a man in the a.m. blended with how long it takes to get a cup of coffee when you can easily open an energy and get on with your day. Well, we need time to relax the fast pace of life is picking up too fast for my taste. Thank you for all the facts you've mentioned on these drinks. A well worth read that educates and lets the public know the
negative aspects of these drinks. Vote up!
Luis E Gonzalez (author) from Miami, Florida on April 16, 2011:
I have never heard of a fat burning coffee but you've hiked my interest. Where can I find info about it?
Brenda Barnes from America-Broken But Still Beautiful on April 16, 2011:
I don't like energy drinks. They give false energy and can be dangerous. I do like coffee and use a fat burning coffee with buffered caffeine and it gives me a lot of energy. This is an interesting article!