Wrigley will remove caffeinated gum from the market after an investigation announcement by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the company said yesterday.
After the caffeinated gum product launch last month, Casey Keller, Wrigley’s North American president, said they have “paused production, sales and marketing of ‘Alert’ to give the FDA time to develop a new regulatory framework for the addition of caffeine to drinks and food.”
The FDA has announced that in response to a trend where caffeine is actually added to an increasing list of products, the agency will examine the safety of caffeine in food products – specifically, its impact on children and teens.
The announcement follows the promotion of a new pack of gum by Wrigley’s with eight pieces – each including as much caffeine as a half a cup of coffee. The gum is one example of the trend of adding caffeine to food.
Other products are also having caffeine added to them, such as:
- jelly beans
- sunflower seeds
- energy drinks
The fact that these products are on the rise and are being marketed towards children is worrisome for the FDA. Currently, the FDA recommends 400 milligrams a day as an acceptable amount of caffeine for healthy adults. However, there is not a level set for children.
The FDA wants to find out how safe caffeinated products are in the food supply to children and some susceptible adults.
The FDA permits manufacturers to add caffeine to their products if they meet safety standards and if it is listed on their packaging.
The Wrigley caffeine gum, called Alert, meets all guidelines for disclosure and the company reassures consumers that it cannot be bought by mistake. It is sold away from candy and gum, next to products such as 5-hour Energy Shots.
Wrigley says their product is geared towards people aged 25 to 49 and costs a bit more than regular gum, at $2.99 for an eight-piece pack.
Wrigley attempted to bring caffeinated gum into the spotlight to widen its core market. The gum segment has shrunk in the U.S. since the recession. Teenagers, who are chewing gum’s most prominent consumers – are now spending their money on other things.
Written by Kelly Fitzgerald