Java Gum, one among many caffeine-added treats showed at this year’s Sweets and Snacks Expo, promises fresh breath and an energy boost—for adults only.
The minty chewing gum bears a few similarities to Wrigley’s much-maligned Alert Energy product. Both marry sugar-free gum with a modest dose of caffeine (Alert Energy with 40 mg per piece, Java with 65 mg). Wrigley, however, recently halted production of its gum after the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced plans to investigate caffeine-added products’ effects on children and teens.
Stacey Pittman, vice president of sales for Java Gum, told ConfectioneryNews he believes his firm’s product will steer clear of the woes faced by Alert Energy for a few key reasons.
“Wrigley’s product looks like it would appeal to kids, with its bright graphics and colors,” he said. “Our packaging is more adult.”
Pittman pointed to Java Gum’s packaging, with rich brown colors that evoke the coffee beverage that inspired the product name. He said Java Gum is positioned to appeal to wound-down office workers, construction staff and other adults looking for a quick pick-me-up, not school-aged kids looking to get wiggy.
Outright ban unlikely
Also, Pittman added that he believes because caffeinated gum was originally developed by the military (it was designed to keep weary soldiers at the top of their game), the FDA is unlikely to place an outright ban on the category. Instead, he said, the agency is more likely to require manufacturers to walk the line and steer clear of kid-friendly marketing tactics.
In addition to its positioning advantage, Pittman says, Java Gum also has managed to produced caffeinated gum without the slightly chemical bite sometimes found in caffeine added products.
Other new items
While the new products unveiled at the 2013 Sweets and Snacks Expo (an event produced by the National Confectioners Association) included notably fewer caffeine-added treats than recent years, there were still a number of energy-boosting offerings:
- Awake Caffeinated Chocolate: This Canadian confectionery startup (launched last August by a group of sweet-toothed friends) displayed its milk and dark bars, each purporting to include the caffeine equivalent of a cup of coffee.
- Good Day Chocolate: Touting its products as “functional food” treats, this company’s wares included two companion chocolates—Energy, with caffeine, amino acids and vitamins; and Calm, with a blend of herbs to help wind down.
- Energems: From NRG Innovations LLC, these milk chocolate treats aim to provide an alternative to energy drinks; each serving includes the caffeine equivalent of one 8-oz can of Red Bull.
- Perky Jerky: This snack product company puts caffeine in an unexpected edible—dried meat. The company launched six new varieties at this year’s expo.