Confessions of a Quackbuster

This blog deals with healthcare consumer protection, and is therefore about quackery, healthfraud, chiropractic, and other forms of so-Called "Alternative" Medicine (sCAM).

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Candy makers target fitness market

My comments are after this article:

Candy makers target fitness market
Products marketed to boost performance, boost energy

Saturday, June 18, 2005; Posted: 1:53 p.m. EDT (17:53 GMT)

CHICAGO, Illinois (AP) -- Apparently energy-packed sports drinks aren't enough. Now there are vitamin-laced jelly beans and ginseng-stoked chews.

The nation's candy makers are targeting fitness enthusiasts seeking to boost athletic performance or quickly grab a jolt of energy.

Industry insiders and analysts who gathered this week in Chicago for North America's largest candy trade show say the odd pairing of candy and fitness might just make economic sense. Consumers are scooping up more than $3 billion a year in "energy" gels, bars and drinks, and the crowded, $25 billion confection industry must continue to innovate if it's going to sweeten the bottom line.

And when you consider that more than 60 percent of adults say they exercise, the new products stand a good chance of catching on, said Harry Balzer, vice president of a consumer marketing firm that tracks the food industry.

"Americans are explorers, they like new things," said Balzer of the NPD Group. "As long as you don't upset my expectations of taste, that's the most important thing."

At the All Candy Expo in Chicago, Jelly Belly Candy Co. of Fairfield, California, introduced "Sports Beans." Each one-ounce serving has Vitamins C and E plus 120 milligrams of electrolytes to boost energy and prevent dehydration.

"We felt there was an opening in the market for a non-bar, non-chocolate functional product," said Bill Kelley, Jelly Belly vice chairman. "This has the energy component, electrolytes and it tastes good" in lemon-lime and orange flavors.

The new beans are expected in stores later this summer.

BestSweet Inc. of Mooresville, North Carolina, signed up stock-car racing star Dale Earnhardt Jr. to endorse its new XLR8 Energy Chews made with caffeine, ginseng, and guarana.

"Over time, more and more candy will contain something of additional value, vitamins or additives," said BestSweet's Steve Berkowitz. He said three of the taffy-like candies provide a boost equivalent to drinking one can of the immensely popular Red Bull energy drink.

Schuster Marketing Corp.'s sugar-free Blitz Energy Gum has 100 milligrams of caffeine, about the same as a freshly brewed cup of java.

Steve Schuster, president of the Milwaukee-based company, said the caffeine-rich, vitamin-fortified gum is part of a natural evolution from its sugar-free, low-calorie offerings especially as the United States struggles with obesity.

But some question whether marketing candy as part of an active lifestyle makes sense.

"I don't think that (the new products) belong in the candy aisle," said Cynthia Sass, a registered dietitian and spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association. "I'd like to see some research that shows they do what they claim to do, a track record. A lot of these products may not have that."

Sass said many people, from serious athletes to couch potatoes, don't really need the stimulants and other substances found in many energy products.

"People need to realize if they haven't been sweating and need to replace electrolytes, you don't really need these products," she said. The use of stimulants is an even greater concern because they can cause dangerous increases in a person's heart rate and blood pressure, she added.

But Larry Graham, president of the National Confectioners Association, said candy makers are simply answering consumer demand.

"Manufacturers are looking for new ways to build healthful benefits into their candy," Graham said.


My comments:

I can just see it now......a new candy product called "Mexican Jumping Jelly Beans", sold to enhance running and jumping abilities, just chock full of chili pepper and speed enhancing speed (methamphetamine).

There are many ways used to introduce drugs to children and youth: alcoholic drinks disguised as soft drinks, candy in the shape of cigarettes, candy snuff, "energy" drinks like "Red Bull", etc.

Of course the whole dietary supplement industry is just another way of attempting to get the public to use various substances as drugs. Many of those substances are unproven or disproven. Many have very real effects and side effects above and beyond what the user has been told in the sales material.

If it's being sold as having a health effect for any disease or condition, it should be marketed as a drug, not as a dietary supplement. DSHEA needs to be rescinded.

Some interesting links:

Candy Cigarettes and Tobacco

Feds Want To Snuff Out Candy-Flavored Cigarettes

Do candy cigarettes encourage young people to smoke?

Tell the Government to Keep “Alcho-Pops” Away from Kids

Energy Drink Review

Energy drink claims rejected

Energy Boosting Drugs: Energy Drinks