We told you on Monday about the FDA‘s investigation into foods with added caffeine, the organization’s main concern being that the current proliferation of caffeinated foods on the market (drinks, energy shots, candy, snack mixes, etc.), may be causing people, especially children, to consume unhealthy and potentially unsafe amounts of the stimulant.
Wrigley‘s newly released Alert Energy caffeinated gum, which contains roughly 40mg of caffeine per piece, found itself in the hot seat in light of the new FDA probe. The company initially insisted that its product was intended for (and marketed to) adults, saying, “Millions of Americans consume caffeine responsibly and in moderation as part of their daily routines,” but after discussing the issue with the regulatory body, Wrigley has changed its tune.
“After discussions with the FDA, we have a greater appreciation for its concern about the proliferation of caffeine in the nation’s food supply,” Wrigley North America President Casey Keller said in a statement to the AP. “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.”
According to the AP report, Wrigley considers the recall temporary, “to give the agency time to regulate caffeine-added products.”
While doing the socially responsible thing is almost always good PR, the halted distribution and marketing of the gum comes just as the company was building distribution on the brand — an obviously less-than-ideal business and branding situation. But while having your product associated with an FDA investigation is never really a good thing, we think this was the right move for Wrigley — it appears socially responsible by pulling the product, but its publicized intentions to re-release the gum once proper regulations are in place send the message that it is confident in the gum’s safety and desirability.