- Debra Topham
Stay Alert to Wrigley’s relaunch of Caffeinated Alert Gum
Updated: Sep 4, 2019
Perhaps you have seen the news:
Mars Wrigley brings back Alert Gum as FDA caffeine guidelines absent (FoodNavigator)
Mars Wrigley seeks sales jolt with caffeine gum relaunch (FoodDive)
After 4 years, caffeinated gum relaunches to the public. Certainly the military dispenses caffeinated gum to its troops, but health risks and concerns are yet to be tested. Cleary with the FDA on the sidelines and without a formal guidance, Mars Wrigley is taking a calculated risk.
The FDA through policy and regulation, has defined “Energy” as coming from “carbs, fats, and protein.” Consumers of central nervous system stimulants like caffeine, experience effects as a boost in “energy”.
More over caffeinated gum that “confers energy to a human” enters the grey area, and becomes a questionable structure/function claim. This is a particularly interesting situation for FDA enforcement because gum is not a significant source of carbs, fats or proteins.
In all cases, develop your business strategy first, and consider all the risks. For most companies without the Mars Wrigley resources, we expect them to choose a “wait and see what happens strategy.” Only for the most fearless entrepreneurs with absolutely nothing to loose (i.e. no existing brand, not sales, no reputation) might try and carve out a small niche, and even then you might ask why enter a market that’s decreasing 4% a year. [“U.S. gum sales declined 4% in the first half of 2017, according to IRI data reported by Food Navigator-USA. While Wrigley dominates the category by a wide margin — owning 72% share”]