It will not be long until a new variety of Cracker Jacks hits the shelves of supermarkets in the US.Thus, PepsiCo's Frito-Lay has made it public news that it is to start baking and marketing so-called Power Bites, which are basically caffeinated snacks.
Needless to say, the news has caused quite a media stir, given the fact that both regular folks and trained dietitians are now trying to figure out how this new “treat” will impact on the health of children in the US.
Advertising Age informs us that the Center for Science in the Public Interest (i.e. a consumer advocacy group) went as far as to send a letter to the US Federal Drug Administration.
The letter emphasized the fact 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.).”
On the other hand, Frito-Lay says that the Center for Science in the Public Interest misinterpreted their statements: the Cracker Jack'D Power Bites will not contain caffeine, they will contain coffee.
The difference is that caffeine is a crystalline xanthine alkaloid that functions as a stimulant drug, whereas coffee is a stimulant that only contains traces of caffeine, but it is not entirely made out of it.
As well as this, all marketing campaigns concerning these snacks are to target adult consumers alone.
Needless to say, the packaging for these new Cracker Jack'D Power Bites will be as suggestive as possible: the boy-and-dog logo will be displayed against a black background, and information about the products coffee/caffeine content will be written on both its front and its back.
Still, Jeff Cronin, the Center for Science in the Public Interest's director of communications, wished to express his opinion that, “It is wholly inappropriate to add caffeine to a kid-friendly product, regardless of whether the caffeine comes from coffee or another source.”
“Even if the company intends to market the product to adults, the Cracker Jack brand is one that children have a long attraction to,” he went on to add.