Western civilization has been feeding its caffeine addiction for centuries. But what started out as coffee several times a day, is threatening to become a deluge of caffeinated food thrust upon us by eager food manufacturers. Smart marketers have sniffed the revenue potential of “caffeinated energy snacks” like bloodhounds on the chase.
Cracker Jacks has extended into an “adult” line called Cracker Jack’d, soon to hit the market. Its manufacturer, Frito Lay, asks consumers to “Get Jacked up and eat some Cracker Jacked or Jack’D.”
Already on grocery shelves today, are caffeinated snacks such as Jelly Belly’s Extreme Sport Beans, water flavorings such as Mio Energy, and others. As if energy drinks aren’t enough of a threat to kids, now parents will have to worry about their tweens getting frazzled by a bag of popcorn.
Although caffeine in small amounts is safe, and even beneficial, too much of a good thing is not. Side effect start with insomnia, irritability, and upset stomach but can lead to accelerated heart rate, muscle tremors, and worse. Kids are usually not heavy coffee drinkers and their bodies react more adversely to a caffeine hit compared to Starbucks junkies.
Consumer advocacy group CSPI (The Center for Science in the Public Interest) is petitioning the FDA to enforce an existing regulation that supposedly limits the use of added caffeine in non cola beverages.
What we’d like to see is mandatory labeling of caffeine content on products. If a can of Coke has 45mg of caffeine, then a snack with 20mg is probably no biggie. But if a lunchtime treat is going to have 100mg of caffeine, how will that affect your child?
What do you think of this new caffeine trend?