Mars Wrigley Confectionery is re-launching a caffeinated gum almost five years after the FDA gave the company push back on the product.
The candy maker originally planned to launch its Alert Caffeine Gum — which provides 40 mg. of caffeine, or about the same amount as a half a cup of coffee — at the Sweets and Snacks Expo in May 2013. However, the company decided against it when the FDA expressed concern that the gum, or any food with added caffeine, could negatively impact children.
At the time, Casey Keller, then-president of Wrigley North America, said, the company had exceeded all regulatory requirements on the labeling and disclosure, but understood where the FDA was coming from.
“After discussion with the FDA, we have a greater appreciation for its concern about the proliferation of caffeine in the nation’s food supply,” Keller said in 2013. “There is a need for changes in the regulatory framework to better guide the consumers and the industry about the appropriate level and use of caffeinated products.”
However, the candy maker featured the gum at the NACS show in Chicago recently and is officially relaunching it. And, Tim Quinn, vice president of trade development, Mars Chocolate North America, says they are not planning to stock the product in the candy aisle, but rather in the energy aisle.
“That energy segment is continuing to grow. We would look to merchandise this with those kind of things, not with traditional gum items,” Quinn says.
He says the company could have launched the gum in 2013, but erred on the side of caution.
“The FDA actually asked us, ‘Could you do some more studies on it?’ So we decided we don’t need to do this now,” Quinn explains. “We’ve done an awful lot more studies because we want to make sure that we are aligned with what’s going on in the industry. And we’re perfectly comfortable with bringing it back. And clearly it’s not for children and it’s for 18 and older and we’ll merchandise it as such.”
Alert Caffeine Gum comes in fruit and mint flavors and has a suggested retail price of $2.49.