If you are attempting to sell an energy shot, how do you make it stand out in a marketplace so clearly dominated by 5-Hour Energy? Well, if you are behind Street King, you hook up with a celebrity and add a philanthropic marketing angle to sell lots of 2.5 oz plastic bottles.
Street King debuted in 2011 with rapper 50 Cent as the figure behind the product. Available in two flavors, Grape and Orange Mango, this energy shot claims 6 hours of energy, while also being free of calories, carbs, and sugars. The artificial sweeteners used to pull this off are a combination of sucralose and acesulfame potassium (Ace-K).
The Grape flavor smells like Grape Kool-Aid, but is clear in color. I sampled this flavor at room temperature and found it to be quite bitter on the tongue. Like many energy shots, the texture is that of a syrupy residue. It wasn't exactly a tasty experience, especially with the artificial sweeteners providing a constant chemical influence.
As far as the Orange Mango flavor, the scent was far more on the mango side than traditional orange. Very pleasant. In fact, the flavor was superior to the Grape as well. Yes, there was still a syrupy feel, but this tasted more like a cohesive orange taste experience. Far less "fake" than the Grape flavor. The Orange Mango taste also does a nicer job of masking the use of artificial sweeteners. If given a choice between these two flavors of Street King, opt for the Orange Mango.
I kept track of the "6 hour" claim noted on the bottle. I probably noticed the most effective range in the 3-4 hour window, with a sensation that felt like my eyes were being kept open. The overall experience didn't seem to run the full 6 hour claim, however. Granted, I tend to have a higher sensitivity to caffeine than others, so your mileage may differ.
The marketing differential made by Street King revolves around the idea of "1 energy shot = 1 meal for a hungry child." No, you don't feed the shots to kids. Rather…
We are committed to working with the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) to help eradicate hunger worldwide. Every shot sold provides one meal for a child. To date we have funder over 3.5 million meals through the WFP, with the goal of providing over 1 billion meals within the next 5 years.
That's a lofty goal, but a good way to set apart your product. Of course, the skeptic in me also wonders just how dedicated the company will be with this initiative. As a consumer, we really only can take their word for it. An independent audit would be excellent to verify these claims.
Energy shots are classified as "supplements," therefore their nutritional value is a bit more vague vs. a bona fide beverage. The base ingredients of these shots are the following:
Street King – Grape & Orange Mango
Water, natural flavors, sucralose, acesulfame potassium, potassium sorbet, sodium benzoate, ginkgo leaf extract
A 2.5 oz shot contains 20 mg sodium, 2 mg Vitamin B6, 6 mug Vitamin B12, and 464 mg of something called a "Rebel Energy Blend," which contains citric acid, caffeine, sodium citrate, and citicoline.
As far as the level of caffeine, the bottle notes that it's at a level "comparable to a cup of premium coffee." The folks at Energy Fiend calculate that "This can vary, but averages around 100 mg. However, the actual caffeine content could be between 80 mg and 150 mg" per 2.5 oz bottle. In comparison, a 20 oz bottle of Mountain Dew contains 90 mg of caffeine.
Overall, Street King is a pretty average energy shot. But if you want to feel better about what you are buying, then perhaps the message of helping those who are hungry will resonate strongly.
Official Website: StreetKing.com
Full Disclosure: These beverages were provided compliments of Street King