Packaged Food

Get Jack’d on New Caffeinated Cracker Jacks

As if kids needed another way to drive us crazy, Frito Lay is planning on releasing a new extension to its popular Cracker Jacks snack line – one item of which will contain about 70 mg of caffeine per 2 ounce pack. (For reference, the FDA-recommended safe amount for cola-type beverages is 72 mg per 12 ounce container.)

Not to worry though, as only two of the five new Cracker Jack’d flavors – Cheddar BBQ, PB & Chocolate, Salted Caramel, Spicy Pizzeria and Cocoa Java – will contain caffeine , and that caffeine comes from coffee which is of course completely “natural” and therefore completely “safe.”

Besides, Cracker Jack’ds are specifically developed for adults and therefore will not be marketed to children, which ought to be more than enough to stop “little Johnny” from getting his grubby little hands on them. Obviously.

New Cracker Jack’d caffeinated Cracker Jacks, available after December 22, 6 for $11 @ Nationwide Candy

via Ad Age


Today in Grow or Die, Starbucks Buys Teavana for $620 million

I don’t drink coffee, preferring to get my caffeine jolts from refreshing iced tea because I generally find it very drinkable without adding the calories of cream and sugar. I’ve had Starbucks passion iced tea, that fruity lime iced drink that they claimed was coffee, and the Tazo tea bags from the company they bought for $8.1 million in 1999 – they’re good, I guess, but not great.

Perhaps that’s why Starbucks has plunked down $620 million for Teavana, a retail tea store chain. Company head Howard Schultz claims that Teavana offerings from Starbucks will form a second, higher-end brand alongside their existing Tazo products. The company is probably emboldened by the early success of their Verismo system and is feeling frisky about throwing money at new ventures. I won’t venture inside Starbucks’ tea experience shops if they ever make it to the mass market, but if they try to sell me some new top shelf Teavana drink the next time I visit, I’ll give it a try.

via Nation’s Restaurant News


Starbucks vs. The Coffee King — Which Team Will Reign Supreme?


Starbucks rules the world and everyone knows it. Their green mermaid logo is as ubiquitous as McDonald’s golden arches or Target’s bulls-eye. You may bemoan the lack of quaint, mom-and-pop cafes (where they’d scoff at you if you asked for a soy milk substitute), but nobody can deny the downright convenience of the Starbucks machine– there are seven locations within a two-mile radius of my house alone.

However, there’s a new man in town, and he’s eager to usurp our favorite corporate caffeinators. His name is Dang Le Nguyen Vu, a.k.a. the “Coffee King.”

Vu is the chairman of privately owned Trung Nguyen, Vietnam’s biggest chain of coffee houses and what he hopes will become Starbucks’ biggest competitor. Vu believes that most of Starbucks’ success lies in their branding, and not in their actual product. “They are great at implanting a story in consumers’ minds but if we look into the core elements of Starbucks, what they are doing is terrible. They are not selling coffee, they are selling coffee-flavoured water with sugar in it,” he says.

You have to admit, he’s right. Does anyone really go to Starbucks for their refined roastin’ abilities? No, you go to order that slightly embarrassing frilly/fruity drink, to work on your startup while you sit in their cushy lounge chairs, even to listen to that cheesy singer-songwriter music that’s always playing. People go for the experience, not the commodity or the service, because we live in an experience economy.

Starbucks is great at selling that hip, urban, modern-wo/man-with-a-laptop experience, and Vu knows this. “American consumers don’t need another product,” he says. “They need another story.” His company’s story is that they source all of their beans from smaller, certifiably sustainable farms where growers receive guaranteed prices. It’s an appreciated attempt at harmonious sustainability, even if it does seems a bit contradictory to his aim for global domination. If anything, it would boost the economy for those in Vietnam’s coffee-growing highland region since, despite being the world’s second biggest coffee exporter overall (after Brazil), the country only earns a tiny fraction of the crop’s generated income– a veritable espresso shot in the Venti scheme of things.

The Coffee King plans to expand his business and permeate the U.S. domestic market come next year. Who knows, maybe there will be a Trung Nguyen in your neighborhood soon! There’s definitely a storm a brewin’ between the java gods.

But hey, as long as it’s brewin’ a mighty fine cup of joe.

via Reuters/photo courtesy of Sparklette


This Droopy Eyed Coffee Mug Feels Your Pre-Caffeinated Pain

If you’re going to be dead tired every morning, wouldn’t it be nice to know you didn’t have to go through it alone? In the olden times, it used to be your only option was to get a girlfriend, but luckily for you, now there’s the Wake Up Mug.

Featuring a pair of sad, saggy comic-book eyes, this heat-activated mug literally perks up after sharing your favorite brew, only to droop again along with your caffeine level to gently remind you it’s time for a refill. Best of all, when you’re done, you can hide Wake Up Mug away in the cupboard until you need her again tomorrow, no messy definitions or awkward goodbyes necessary.

Wake Up Mug by Fred and Friend’s, available for $12 on Amazon.

[Via Holy Cool]


ATTENTION: VitaminWater’s New Gateway to Adderall?

VitaminWater‘s all new caffeine-packed attention flavor boasts 87mg of caffeine to “help support mental focus.” While the new flavor is not exactly a brand name of medication used to treat bouts of ADHD, Adderrall is definitely the first term that came to mind when we were informed about Glacéau’s latest VitaminWater flavor.

The bottle’s label has some cute quips and questions that transport us back to our college days of smuggling baggies of “focus pills” into the dormitories and chasing them down our gullets with gallons of coffee. Here’s what the front label reads…of course in all lower case, true to the vitaminwater branding:

why do we check e-mail and one minute later re-check it? why do we look at our cellphone for no reason? it didn’t ring or vibrate. well, while you’re doing all that, why not try this drink. each 20 fl oz bottle has 87mg of caffeine to help support mental focus. now you can try focusing on the things that you actually want to focus on like, why the heck did she unfriend me?

It’s not very fair to use vitaminwater: attention in the same sentence as Adderrall. In fact, it’s so different in actual content that it’s just a giggly reference we made because of how suggestive we feel their branding around it is. One read through the of the above quote by any caffeine-nursing college student should raise some funky, nostalgic eyebrows that remind them of that kid down the hall currently ramped on Addies…trying to cure the same symptoms that VitaminWater poses in their latest product description.

We’ve yet to taste or experience the new flavor, and according to our foodie friend Andy who’s been on the new drink for over a month, the fuji apple-watermelon flavored  drink definitely stands its own in the flavor department.

Each bottle of the new VitaminWater Attention has 120 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 milligrams of sodium, 32 grams of carbohydrates and 32 grams of sugar. Apparently glucose, of which each bottle has 15 grams of, can help with cognitive performance.

This new Attention flavor is a pretty bold move, considering the brand already has a pink-hued Kiwi Strawberry-flavored ‘focus‘ variety. ‘Focus’ is advertised to be fortified with vitamin A and ginkgo biloba for mental relaxation. I guess VitaminWater is just looking to cover the gamut of subtle human ailments with tasty beverages.

Will you be trying the new Attention flavor? Have you already tried it? Has it helped with your studying/focus/attention at all? Speak on it in the comments below!

[Photos via IMKing]


World’s Largest Usable Coffee Cup

This is for those of you who need a little extra help waking up in the morning… about 20 times more help than most people. That’s right, this particular porcelain cup of coffee measures in at around 6″ in height and about 10″ in diameter and holds up to 20 cups of coffee. For those of you wondering, that’s over a gallon of coffee in this single cup! I can’t imagine what going to the bathroom is going to be like after that much coffee.

($47.50 @ Archie McPhee)

Packaged Food

LiveWire Introduces 3 New Flavors

Livewire Energy Chews just release three brand new flavors in their energy chewables line: Sour Apple, Cinnamon Fire, and Dark Roast Coffee.

For those of you unfamiliar with the brand, they feature a line of caffeinated chews loaded with B Vitamins, caffeine, taurine and ginseng. The company boasts that each piece of chews provides the same boost as an energy drink. Not sure about that Dark Roast Coffee flavor, but I guess there’s a first time for everything.



Caffeinated Chocolate Milk Straws

We all know that chocolate milk is an excellent source of Calcium,Vitamin D and childhood nostalgia. Now chocolate milk gets a revitalizing jolt as the ThinkGeek brand pumps 200mg of pure caffeine into this cafeteria favorite with these mixture straws. For those in need of reference, 200mg is roughly the amount of caffeine found in two and a half regular energy drinks!

Simply pour in the powdered contents of each straw into your glass of milk and BAM! Sleep will become a thing of the past. You can stay up all night feeling like a kid again!  Although, with that much caffeine stimulating your synapses, you might just start believing you’re a kid again too. ($8 @Thinkgeek)