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Wrigley's Caffeinated Gum Pulled

Wrigley's Caffeinated Gum Pulled

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Are all our caffeinated products in danger? Wrigley has just announced that it will temporarily stop selling and marketing Alert caffeinated gum after the FDA announced its investigation of caffeinated food products.

AP reports that president Casey Keller said the company decided to stop selling Alert temporarily "out of respect" for the FDA, although Alert was just rolled out late last month. Each stick of Alert reportedly has as much caffeine as a half-cup of coffee.

"When Wrigley began Alert Energy Caffeine Gum, we took great strides to ensure that the product was formulated, distributed, and marketed in a safe and responsible way to consumers 25 years old and over," Casey Keller, president of Wrigley, said in a statement.

Since the release, however, and after discussions with the FDA, Wrigley has pulled the gum due to a "greater appreciation for its concern about the proliferation of caffeine in the nation's food supply."

Of course, not every caffeinated food purveyor feels the same. Rival caffeine gum company X8 isn't pulling its product, with co-founder Rob Di Marco saying in a statement, "Let’s be real here, caffeine products have been safely consumed by adults for hundreds of years... Our product, and the likes of Redbull, Monster, and so many others are not made for kids. Parents need to parent, and this nanny-state mentality must stop infringing on the choices Americans can freely make."

In the meantime, Michael Taylor, the FDA's deputy commissioner of foods, applauds Wrigley's decision to halt production, saying it "demonstrates real leadership and commitment to the public health." We wonder what this means for our caffeinated maple syrup.

Mars Wrigley brings back Alert Gum as FDA caffeine guidelines absent

Alert Caffeine Gum returns after four-year hiatus. Photo: CN

Related tags: Caffeine

The company launched the brand in 2013, but halted production months later​​ after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced​​​ it was investigating the safety of caffeine in foods amid concerns about the effect on children and adolescents.

Wrigley previously said it would wait for the FDA to develop a regulatory framework on caffeine before relaunching Alert Gum.

Improving communications in absence of guidelines​

Michelle Green, senior manager of global confectionery category & brand communications at Mars Wrigley, told ConfectioneryNews: “We understand the FDA has many important priorities and despite good-faith efforts, has not yet provided guidelines for caffeine usage in most food products."

Caffeine chocolate firm Awake Chocolate told us in 2014​​ the FDA was unlikely to ever regulate caffeine levels in confectionery products.

Green said: “In the absence of those guidelines, we’ve spent the past four years evaluating new and existing research on caffeine, and conducted a scientific study to close remaining knowledge gaps that existed in the published literature.”

How is gum performing?

Dollars sales in US gum declined 4% in the first half of 2017, according to IRI data for multi-outlets including c-stores in the 26 weeks ending June 25, 2017.

Wrigley’s market share in sugarless gum declined over the period by -1.72% to 72% of the market, as Hershey and Concord Confections gained share.

Mars Wrigley has published the information on its website.​

Green added: “There is emerging evidence that cumulative caffeine intake in the US, even with caffeinated chewing gum, is not associated with adverse effects.”

According to the FDA, the average adult has an intake of 200 mg of caffeine per day, which is half the recommended limit (400 mg per day).

Slight change to packaging same caffeine content​

The relaunched Alert Gum – exhibited this week at the NACS Show - is unchanged in flavor, format and caffeine content (40 mg per piece).

“There are two changes to the packaging. It’s now called Alert Caffeine Gum, not Alert Energy Gum,”​ said Green

“It’s a simpler description of the product proposition, which offers caffeine but not other additives typically found in energy products.

“We’ve also added an endorsement from 5 Gum to the package artwork,” ​she said.

Rising competition​

There have been a number of smaller entrants into energy gums in recent years, including UK mineral water firm Navson with Raw gum, Kerry Gum and Candy Treasure’s Jolt Energy Gum.

Green said Wrigley’s reputation could help it stand out and said it was committed to responsible marketing.

“We are marketing Alert Caffeine Gum to adults over 18 who are looking for a portable, tailored and simpler alternative to the current caffeine options on the market,” ​she said.

Targeting checkouts and energy aisles​

Mars Wrigley will sell Alert Caffeine Gum across all channels – c-stores, mass, grocery, drug, and online.

It would like to merchandize the brand at checkouts, close to energy products, but said the second preferred location is in-aisle with the energy category, or alternatively with other gum products.

Mars Wrigley will ramp up its marketing spend on the brand in 2018 with online, social and paid media campaigns.

“We’ve put a tremendous amount of marketing energy into the product, of course, but also communicating a responsible message of caffeine consumption,”​ said Green.

Green said the caffeinated beverage and energy industry has continued to grow, but consumers are looking for alternatives to liquid forms.

She said Alert Gum could fill a gap for a portable, portion controlled energy boost.

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Wrigley to Launch Caffeinated Gum

According to the Chicago Tribune, Wrigley's Alert Energy Caffeine Gum will target those who may have stopped chewing gum when they entered adulthood. This product gives people a reason to restart their gum habit &mdash energy. Each piece of gum contains 40 milligrams of caffeine, which is equivalent to about a half a cup of coffee.

Alert will come in two flavors: fruit and mint. The gum is set to launch in April and the Wrigley website explains that the chewable caffeine will be, "an 'on me' energy solution that gives consumers the power to control how much caffeine they get." It's unclear how chewing Alert will give consumers more control over caffeine intake than simply deciding how much coffee to drink.

The packaging for Alert gum seems to resemble that of an energy drink. While Wrigley has already stated that the gum will have warning labels and advertising will not target minors, that will still be a concern. Chewing a caffeinated gum would be an easy way for kids and teens to avoid detection. Wrigley isn't the first company to manufacture gum with caffeine, but it is the only major brand to do so.

Will you try caffeinated gum? Do you think it could replace a different caffeine habit, such as coffee or soda?

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Guide to Caffeinated Gum

Gum laced with caffeine! It can be a great way to get a pick-me-up without having the inconvenience of guzzling down an energy drink or a coffee.

Sometimes drinking just isn’t an option, so a good caffeine gum can be the answer to get you through boring lectures/meetings or even keep you energetic for those special times with your significant other with fresh breath to boot.

However, not all caffeinated gum is created equal and some deliver more kick for your money, so we put together this handy caffeine gum guide so you can make informed decisions when choosing that perfect energy gum.

When flavor, caffeine, and price come together in the right combination, you have found a winning gum that should wake you up as you chew.

Update: We’ve indicated the gums discontinued by using a Strikethrough .

Popular Caffeine Gum Available

Caffeine/piece Flavor Price/pack
Military Energy Gum
(Formerly Stay Alert Gum)
100mg mint,cinnamon $1.28
Apollo Energy Gum 80mg spearmint $2.60
Blitz Energy Gum 55mg mint original $2.45
X8 Energy Gum 50mg mint $4.99
Jolt Gum 45mg mint $2.49
Vibe Energy Gum 40.5mg mint $3.99
RockStar Gum 40mg mint,orange $1.99
Amp Energy Gum 40mg citrus $2.99
Mad Croc Gum 40mg peppermint,cinnamon $2.12
Mini Thin Rush Gum 40mg spearmint, cinnamon $1.99
Wrigley’s Alert Energy Gum 40mg fruit, mint $2.99
VE2 Energy Gum 35mg mint $1.69
Think Gum 10mg peppermint $2.99
Black Back Gum 5mg mint $2.49
Plow On Energy Gum 100mg spearmint $2.99
Java Gum 65mg peppermint or spearmint $2.99
OneGum (Europe) 50mg mint €3.50
Superfast Energy Gum 50mg mint/menthol varies
Neurogum 40mg fresh Mint $2.90 or less
Zestel Energy Gum 20mg spearmint $2.98
Energy Bombs Chewing Gum 40mg mint, cinnamon $2.99
Drive Gum 25mg bittermint varies
Bold Gum 100mg arctic mint, spearmint, cinnamon $2.99
Run Gum 50mg Mint, Fruit, Cinnamon $1.87

Energy Gum Downsides?

The most common complaint people have about caffeinated energy gum is the flavor. Most of the ones I’ve tried lose flavor pretty quickly and what’s left isn’t that appealing.

Caffeine and other energy ingredients tend to have a bitter taste, so as soon as the sweetener is dissolved, what remains can be unpleasant to the palate. Some are better than others and the mint varieties last a bit longer than the fruit flavored energy chewing gums.

The other danger with caffeine gum is ingesting too much caffeine.

The varieties that list more than 50mg per piece could be potentially dangerous for those with low caffeine tolerance of if they get into the hands of children.

Caffeine energy gum can be a great alternative to energy drinks, but chew the gum responsibly and don’t expect the caffeinated gum to last as long as your standard chewing gum.

It will be interesting to see if this energy product market segment will last in the USA.

Wrigley's Caffeinated Gum Pulled - Recipes

Wrigley pulls gum, It seemed like another sign of the times when Wrigley introduced a caffeinated gum last month. After all, consumers can already buy caffeine-boosted drinks like Jolt Cola, energy bursts like Monster Beverages' (MNST -5.20%) products and even jelly beans.

But now Wrigley is temporarily pulling its Alert gum from store shelves "out of respect for" the Food and Drug Administration, The Associated Press reports. The decision comes after the Mars-owned gum company had discussions with the agency.

The move may be just the tip of the caffeinated iceberg, however. It turns out all those laced food products -- such as potato chips and water -- have drawn the FDA's attention. The government agency plans to review the safety of caffeine in food products, especially regarding how they affect children and teens.

Wrigley designed Alert to appeal to an older crowd, as reported here in March. A pack sold for about $3, or about twice the cost of regular gum, and Alert has a bitter taste, which one Wrigley executive said children wouldn't enjoy.

One piece of the hexagonal gum contains 40 milligrams of caffeine, while a tall cup of Starbucks (SBUX -0.08%) coffee delivers a jolt of 260 milligrams, according to data from the Center for Science in the Public Interest. Wrigley rolled out the new gum as a way to juice up sales, which declined 2.7% last year.

The proliferation of caffeine in food products has been decried by the CSPI, which lobbies for healthier eating and has targeted Alert for criticism. "You can start the day with caffeinated waffles and syrup and have caffeinated marshmallows as a snack and a coffee later," Executive Director Michael Jacobson complained to the The Wall Street Journal in March.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has warned that caffeinated sports drinks and energy drinks "have no place in the diet of children and adolescents."

"After discussions with the FDA," Wrigley President Casey Keller told the AP, "we have a greater appreciation for its concern about the proliferation of caffeine in the nation's food supply."

Is Caffeinated Gum a Safe Energy-Booster?

Do you have difficulty getting up in the morning? Feel like taking a nap in the middle of the afternoon? In the old days, you might have simply grabbed a cup of coffee to get you going. But today thanks to Wrigley, the chewing gum manufacturer, you could buy a stick of gum that provides the same amount of caffeine as about a half-cup of coffee. If you ask me, this is crazy.

At first it seemed that the biggest rage with caffeinated products was in energy drinks, like Red Bull. Today the market is so huge with these types of beverages I can&apost even keep up. Much to my dismay, many brands of bottled water also now include caffeine and, if that wasn&apost enough, it can also be found in such products as jelly beans, waffles, and potato chips. And to make matter worse, these foods and drinks are not only being consumed by adults but also by children.

With the launch of Wrigley&aposs gum, the FDA is now looking into the potential impact that added caffeine may have on children and adolescents. This is probably long overdue. Generally it is agreed that consuming up to 300 milligrams (mg) of caffeine a day is safe for adults. That&aposs roughly the amount you would get from three cups (one cup equals 8 ounces or one "vente" from Starbucks) of coffee. Consuming more than 300mg could have negative side effects such as irritability, sleeplessness, anxiety, and diarrhea.

What I find sad about this whole caffeine situation is that is seems we have become a nation that looks for energy to be found in a cup, bottle, or package, starting with our children. Whatever happened with getting a good night&aposs sleep and eating healthy? Sure I love my morning cup of java, but that is because I love the taste of it. It&aposs my bowl of oatmeal, packed with high-fiber carbohydrates, that give me my energy to get moving.

And when I feel a lull in the afternoon, instead of grabbing a cup of coffee, I might grab a piece of fruit and a yogurt, once again looking for healthy carbs that convert to glucose in my body for natural energy. Also, one should never underestimate the power of exercise. Once you get those endorphins going, it surely beats a cup of joe hands-down.

I do hope the FDA cracks down on the use of caffeine in products, especially those targeted toward children and adolescents, as it seems the total amount consumed daily can become unexpectedly high. In the meanwhile, I will continue to advocate for getting energized naturally with wholesome foods, physical activity, and going to bed at a reasonable time, for all ages.

Move Over Coffee - Caffeinated Gum is on the Way

The morning ritual is one of the most sacred parts of the day. Of course, there is the showering and eating of breakfast but more importantly there is the coffee -- sweet, sweet coffee pumping caffeine through our veins and getting us ready for the day ahead. Could anything ever replace it? Well, if one company has its way, it soon may be replaced by gum.

Wrigley, who you may know from making just about every gum ever, has been rapidly and nervously prepping their very own caffeinated gum. Wrigley’s Alert Energy Caffeine Gum comes packed with 40 milligrams of caffeine per piece. If you chew two slices you’ll be getting as much caffeine as one cup of coffee. If you go crazy and chew eight slices you’ll finally design that nachos blog you've been meaning to get around to.

The gum is set to arrive in some stores next month, with a full national roll out planned for summer. A pack of eight fruit or mint flavored sticks will set you back around $2.99. Maybe they should work on putting caffeine in cereal next to kill two jittery birds with one jittery stone.

Wrigley Pulls Gum: Caffeine Gum Removed From Stores Pending FDA Investigations (VIDEO)

Wrigley has pulled gum containing caffeine from store shelves this week, after increasing pressure had ben applied on the company by the FDA.

Wrigley had produced a special type of caffeine gum called "Alert Energy Caffeine Gum," however, the FDA has commenced an investigation into the potential health risks associated with products infused with high levels of caffeine, and lists the Wrigley gum as one of those being looked into.

The FDA recently met with Casey Keller, president of Wrigley, and soon after he agreed to remove the product from store shelves and to halt any current marketing plans for the caffeine gum, according to reports.

Keller did not make any admission of any fault with the product, however, but simply said that his decision was made "out of respect" for the ongoing FDA investigations.

According to reports, the FDA is specifically interested in the affects on high caffeine products on children and teens, who could easily get access to the products. At the moment there are not many safeguards for children when it comes to caffeine laced products, and the FDA's investigations want to understand the affects of the products better before taking any official action.

Wrigley has confirmed that its caffeine gum will be removed from stores, and also be taken out of production until the FDA comes back with its findings and makes new specifications for such products.

Wrigley gum is not the only product to come under scrutiny, and in the current market place there are numerous items that contain high levels of caffeine, such as candy, nuts, and energy drinks. A number of them boast about the high levels of caffeine and giving an energy boost, and such products have been known to attract teens.

In addition, beverages combining alcohol and caffeine were recently banned, pending regulations on the amount of caffeine.

Here is a video news report about Wrigley's caffeine gum:

Bubble Boost: Wrigley's Launching Caffeinated Chewing Gum

While caffeinated energy drinks have taken several recent hits for being linked to caffeine overdoses and even deaths, Wrigley&aposs is getting into the action with a caffeinated chewing gum.

In a statement released by Wrigley, a division of the Mars candy company, the chewing gum leader says it is "focused on restoring gum category health, and that means creating functional and &aposoccasion-based&apos reasons to chew, bringing relevance back to gum."

According to ABC News, the new chewing gum, called Alert Energy Gum, contains 40 milligrams of caffeine in every stick—roughly the same amount of caffeine as a half a cup of coffee. “This is something [consumers] can take with them and something that’s a little bit discrete,” said Jennifer Jackson-Luth, a Wrigley spokeswoman. “It can fit in their pocket.”

The company plans to market its Alert Energy Gum to consumers age 25 and older and include a warning label on the packaging that says it&aposs "not recommended for children." But that doesn&apost mean kids won’t be able to get their hands on the chewing gum, as there are currently no regulations on the sale of caffeinated products. And teens in particular, especially males, are among the most dedicated energy/caffeinated beverage consumers.

A stick of the Alert Energy Gum is equivalent to a half a cup of coffee could contribute to the caffeine overdoses that have recently been linked with energy products. 5-Hour Energy is currently under an FDA investigation for a connection with 13 deaths and 32 hospitalizations for caffeine overdoses.

With teens chewing less, gum manufacturers change ad strategies

"Who wants gum?" was a question asked in countless Trident commercials over the years. Now stuck in a multiyear sales slide, gum manufacturers are asking themselves the same thing.

With teenagers, the core chewing constituency, increasingly bypassing the gum aisle, Chicago-based Wrigley recently launched a new ad campaign for its Extra brand reaching for broader appeal — and perhaps a few tears.

Eschewing functional benefits — fresh breath, dental hygiene and weight loss — the evocative television spots represent a dramatic departure from the pack. In a series of scenes, a father shares Extra gum with his daughter as she grows up, making origami cranes out of the wrappers. While packing her up to leave the nest for college, a box of origami cranes spills out of her car, a poignant moment reflecting a bond that goes far beyond gum.

"This really hits on the emotional reasons that people chew gum," said Anne Marie Splitstone, senior gum category director at Wrigley. "I'm trying to get everyone who's interested in gum to remember this consumer truth about liking to share gum, and the little simple pleasures of doing so."

The theme of the campaign, "sometimes the little things last the longest," is an evolution of Extra's traditional positioning of long-lasting flavor, and a new direction for gum advertising, where quirky, cutting edge and comedic messages abound. While it remains to be seen if the new campaign will be successful, analysts believe the gum category will have to increase ad spending, raise its profile and reposition itself to energize stagnant demand. Gum sales have steadily declined since 2010, driven by a confusing proliferation of brands, lofty price points and a lack of pocket change among target consumers — teenagers who have been especially hard-hit by the recession.

"The unemployment rate has been high consumers tend to chew gum while they're working," said Morningstar analyst Erin Lash. "And the unemployment rate is even higher among teens, who tend to be heavy users of gum."

The downturn hits close to home in Chicago, the unofficial gum capital of the world with Wrigley and Mondelez — the top two manufacturers — both based in the area. Together, they represent about 90 percent of total U.S. gum sales, which last year totaled $3.38 billion, according to IRI, a Chicago-based market research firm.

Sugarless gum accounts for 84 percent of sales, with Wrigley's Orbit leading the way at $454 million, followed by Mondelez's top brand, Trident, whose sales total about $403 million through 52 weeks ending Aug. 11, according to IRI.

Wrigley was founded in Chicago by William Wrigley Jr. in 1891 as a soap company. It started producing gum the following year, launching such iconic brands as Juicy Fruit and Spearmint shortly thereafter. More than a century later, Wrigley remains the world's largest gum manufacturer, with Orbit, Extra and 5 among its top-selling brands.

In 2008, the company was acquired by the privately held, Virginia-based Mars candy company for $23 billion. While still headquartered in Chicago, Wrigley moved from its namesake building on Michigan Avenue to new digs on Goose Island last year.

Deerfield-based Mondelez, an international snacks business that emerged from last year's split of Kraft Foods, is a more recent but nearly as significant player in the gum world. In 2010, Kraft acquired Cadbury in a $19 billion deal, adding top gum brands Trident, Stride and Dentyne to its portfolio.

Credit Suisse analyst Robert Moskow said the chewing gum category has suffered from a lack of management and investment since Mars took over Wrigley and Mondelez took over Cadbury.

"These are two very big confectionary companies, and it makes all the sense in the world that they would have some synergies with chewing gum, but chewing gum is a very different kind of category," Moskow said. "Something got lost in the translation as they tried to integrate chewing gum."

U.S. gum sales are down more than $300 million since 2010, and the decline is accelerating this year. Sales have dropped 6.4 percent to $3.24 billion through the 52 weeks ended Aug. 11, according to IRI.

Among the problems, according to Moskow, has been an overwhelming number of choices at the checkout line, offering everything from faux pie dessert substitutes to flavor-changing gum. Wrigley experienced a flameout in May when one of those varieties, its Alert caffeinated gum, was pulled from the market after the Food and Drug Administration announced an investigation into the effect of additional caffeine consumption on children. The company said it has paused production, sales and marketing of Alert and will reassess the situation at the beginning of 2015.

Splitstone acknowledged that there are just too many choices for most consumers' tastes.

"There's just a lot of brands, a lot of flavor entries and, we would argue, more than there needs to be," she said. "We've made it more complicated for consumers."

Moskow also believes the gum companies have drifted too far from promoting the health benefits of chewing. He cites Trident's current "See What Unfolds" campaign as one that has missed the mark by elevating fun over functional.

"Trident has an oral care heritage, and this one went too far in the direction of indulgence," Moskow said.

But, he said, a bigger problem may be decreased overall advertising spending, which has declined in lock step with sales. Gum advertisers spent $204 million on measured media last year, down from $218 million in 2011, according to Kantar Media. In 2010, gum advertising was nearly $287 million.

"It's actually a very good product," Moskow said. "I think they just have to market it better."

Wrigley spent nearly $116 million on advertising last year, investing about $35 million each in 5 and Orbit, and $19 million in Extra, according to Kantar. Those budgets will be boosted as the new Extra campaign expands into digital and print by the end of the year, according to Splitstone.

"We are going to be spending more going forward," Splitstone said. "We're adding more media behind Extra, so that will be an uptick for us."

Extra was introduced in 1984 as the company's first sugar-free brand in the U.S. It is produced in Wrigley's Gainesville, Ga., factory, along with such brands as Orbit and 5. The company also has gum plants in Tennessee, Ontario and southwest suburban Yorkville.

The new campaign was created by Wrigley's longtime advertising agency, Chicago-based Energy BBDO. Founded in 1932 as Arthur Meyerhoff Associates, the agency landed Wrigley as a client the following year after getting newspapers — including the Chicago Tribune — to allow the placement of chewing gum ads on the comics pages, according to a Wrigley representative.

Charged with broadening Extra's appeal, Energy BBDO developed the idea for the inaugural spot by contemplating a ritual that Jimmy Dietzen, a creative director at Energy BBDO, engages in every Saturday morning — taking his own daughter out to breakfast.

"Handing somebody a stick of gum is a seemingly really small thing," said Rick Hamann, group creative director, 41. "But your relationship with other people is a collection of small gestures, and those small gestures can add up to being really big, important things in life."

To make the spot, the agency hired a woman who folded hundreds of origami cranes in her basement out of actual Extra wrappers. The fruits of her labor provided the emotional payoff at the end of the commercial, according to Dietzen.

"There's moments where you feel a separation happening between these two characters," said Dietzen, 33. "From a father's perspective, that's frightening, but to the daughter, that separation never existed. And that box represents that in this story, which we thought was really powerful."

Moskow believes the new Extra commercials will likely resonate with consumers. He is skeptical, however, that it will translate into increased sales.

"It sounds like it will have pretty good retention — people will probably remember it," Moskow said. "But it doesn't say chewing gum to me. It doesn't speak to the functional benefits of it."

Mondelez is taking a different approach to stimulate its gum sales, including shifting some brands and campaigns away from traditional outlets like TV to digital and out-of-home channels, in an effort to influence purchases at the shelf, according to Stephanie Wilkes, the company's vice president of confectionery. She said the campaigns will focus on functional rather than emotional benefits of gum.

"We are viewing this as an opportunity to find new ways to engage our consumers through new products and innovative marketing that focuses on the benefits of gum, and reaches our consumer across the digital and social media channels where we know they are engaged," Wilkes said.

Meanwhile, Wrigley will opt for both emotional and functional approaches in marketing across its brands.

"I need to get more people to chew more gum more often," Splitstone said.

Watch the video: Wrigleys Pulls Caffeine Gum Off Shelves (June 2022).