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Frito-Lay Re-Energies Americans by Launching Caffeinated Cracker Jack’d

Frito-Lay is about to launch a new line of its Cracker Jacks snacks, Cracker Jack’d, which will include a caffeinated variety called Power Bites. The new product has already generated much buzz among American health-advocacy activists, who are worried that the snacks with such an addictive stimulant might affect kids by making them too hyper. The new “energy” variety comes soon after two other products appeared in the Kraft Foods Group portfolio, the Mio drink flavoring enhancers and Jelly Belly’s “Extreme Sport Beans.”

Photo: The Cracker Jack’d line (click to enlarge), www.adage.com

The company is targeting adults with the new line, but some people are sure that the packaging design might attract kids, who shouldn’t consume the product. The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) wrote three open letters on Wednesday, November 14, highlighting the dangers the caffeine containing producers can cause to kids. In its letter to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, CSPI also writes that “caffeine is generally recognized as safe only in cola-type beverages and only at concentrations of 0.02% or less (about 72 mg per 12 oz.).

At the same time, Frito-Lay’s spokesperson a Frito-Lay spokesman told Ad Age that the variety, which recipe is still developing now, “will contain approximately 70 mg of caffeine from coffee in each 2 oz. package.” He also adds that Power Bites line will include “two flavors that will contain coffee, a natural source of caffeine, as an ingredient. It is worth pointing out the regulation referenced in CSPI’s letter to FDA speaks to caffeine—not coffee—аnd is not an exhaustive list of the safe uses of caffeine in foods and beverages. Rather it represents one particular recognized safe use.”

By releasing the Jack’d lineup, Frito-Lay wants to support its portfolio of premium and value brands including Cracker Jacks and help it stand out on the market. All of them, including Power Bites are created for adult consumers and will be not marketed to children—the brand’s iconic boy with a dog will be preserved on the new packaging, but they will be featured against the black background. Still, kids can take snacks from their parent’s bag, so moms and dads should be aware that if their kid consumers caffeine-containing product, he or she can show signs of “anxiety, restlessness, irritability, excitability and insomnia.

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