The makers of 5-Hour Energy have agreed to settle claims brought by the state of Vermont, which alleged that the energy drink makers lied to consumers about the potency of its energy shot.
The 5-Hour Energy settlement agreement was reached last month, resolving five years of litigation between the state and the drink manufacturers; Living Essentials LLC, and Innovation Ventures, LLC.
Vermont, along with Oregon and Washington, filed the lawsuits in July 2014, seeking a permanent injunction over claims of misleading marketing. According to the lawsuits, the manufacturers were deceiving consumers by claiming the energy-boosting properties of 5-Hour Energy came from a combination of ingredients. However, the states said the boost actually just came from a massive dose of caffeine.
The lawsuit also indicated that the manufacturers’ claims that the energy shot had no “crash” later was false, and that it lied about the shot’s safety for teenagers. The manufacturers maintained that the claims raised in the lawsuits had no basis in fact.
The settlement was reached just days before trial was scheduled to begin in the case filed by Vermont, and details of the agreement have not been released. However, it is known that the manufacturers agreed to pay Vermont $308,000 for legal expenses and did not admit guilt.
5-Hour Energy is a popular energy drink distributed by Innovation Ventures, LLC, which does business as Living Essentials. The product is categorized as a dietary supplement, meaning that the manufacturer has been able to avoid FDA regulation and sell the product without disclosing details on what is contained in the energy drink shot.
Marketing statements made by the manufacturer indicated that 5 Hour Energy provides “hours of energy now – no crash later,” suggesting that users will not experience the sudden drop in energy that is typically associated with other high-caffeine energy drink products. According to National Advertising Division (NAD), part of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, there is data that disproves the claim which is at least ten years old.
The energy drink industry has come under increased scrutiny over the past seven years, as concerns mount about the potential health risks associated with energy drink products and various marketing claims that encourage young users to consume large quantities of the highly caffeinated beverages.