A supercharged chewing gum gets pulled from the shelves Show Notes

Wednesday, May 15, 2013 Host(s): Dr. Bill Maier
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A supercharged chewing gum gets yanked from the shelves.

In response to concerns raised by the Food and Drug Administration, the Wrigley company says it’s going to stop making a new caffeinated gum called “Alert.”

According to a story by Emily Bryson in the Chicago Tribune, Wrigley has halted production, sales and marketing of the gum, in order to give the FDA time to develop new regulations on adding caffeine to food and drinks.  

Earlier this month the FDA announced an investigation into what effect additional caffeine consumption may have on kids.

The world's largest gum manufacturer is based in Chicago, and it says that Alert exceeds all guidelines for disclosure and that consumers wouldn't be buying the product by mistake. Alert was sold away from the gum and candy shelf, and alongside products including 5-Hour Energy Shots.

Each piece of Alert has about 40 milligrams of caffeine, as much as a half a cup of coffee.

The gum targeted consumers between the ages of 25-49, and it carried a higher price tag than regular gum, $2.99 for an 8-piece package.

Wrigley's move into caffeinated gum was seen as an effort to broaden its core market.  Chewing gum manufacturers have been losing market share since the recession.  Teenagers are the biggest buyers of gum, but they’ve been spending their disposable income on other products.

By the way, Wrigley isn’t the first company to market gum with energizing properties. Mondelez International, which makes Trident, sells a line of gums with ingredients like ginseng, green tea and Vitamin C.  Stride Spark sells gum that has Vitamins B6 and B12 added.

I’m Bill Maier for WBCL.
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