HERBERT NEUBAUER / AFP
Red Bull brand founder Dietrich Mateschitz, pictured at the Formula 1 Austrian Grand Prix in 2017, has died aged 78.
DEATH – ” Red Bull gives you wings “, and its creator Dietrich Mateschitz, must now own a pair, when we learned of his death this Saturday, October 23. Founder of the energy drink manufacturing company Red Bull, the Austrian billionaire as secret as his signature was famous, he died at the age of 78 from cancer.
His emblematic energy drink, which has become essential, especially in the world of sports marketing, was born by chance, during a trip to Asia. It all started during one of his many business trips as marketing director for a German cosmetics company. He appears to have had an epiphany when he was served a sugary drink common in Asia at a posh Hong Kong bar.
This drink is Krating Daeng, a tonic that is widely consumed by night workers and can temporarily counteract fatigue, he recalled. The world in 2008.
Impressed by the drink’s apparent ability to overcome jet lag, Dietrich Mateschitz decided to team up with Thai businessman Chaleo Yoovidhya, who developed the drink, to found Red Bull in 1984. From his cradle in a verdant Alpine valley in Fuschl -am-See, the drink slowly but surely conquered western taste buds and the brand grew worldwide thanks to its clever marketing.
Red Bull and taurine, a long controversy
Red Bull, according to its official composition, is a mixture of caffeine (0.03%), taurine (0.4%), ” b group vitamins », sugars and water. A 250ml can contains 80mg of caffeine, about the same amount as in a cup of home-brewed coffee.
ALEJANDRO KLEIN / AFP
Red Bull cans arrived in France in 2008.
Its composition has been the subject of a long controversy. So much so that although Red Bull cans were first launched on the Austrian market, most European countries initially banned them. In particular: the concern raised by the high level of caffeine and the uncertain effects of taurine. The latter is a derivative of two amino acids produced by the human body.
It was not until 1992 that Hungary, Great Britain, then Germany in 1994 and the United States in 1997 authorized its commercialization. As for France, it will have banned it for twelve years, from 1996 to 2008 before giving in. Initially, this green light was conditioned to the substitution of taurine for arginine. But two months later, Christine Lagarde, then Minister of the Economy, finally authorized the marketing of the original recipe, without any study having been able to demonstrate the dangers of this product.
However, a few years later, the controversy revived after the death of a teenager, Brahim, aged 15, after running the 10 km in Crépy-en-Valois (Oise) during a foot race. The victim had consumed in the hours before his death a quantity of taurine twenty times higher than the upper range of the usual standards, ” that it cannot come from food alone and that it can correspond to drinking several cans of Red Bull “, specified the report of the expert in charge of the investigation, quoted by the parisian. It was then remembered that energy drinks should not be consumed in large quantities, especially by pregnant women, children and adolescents.
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