By Dean L. Jones, C.P.M.
Packaged food and beverage makers are increasingly demonstrating bizarre behavior more and more, while simultaneously being somewhat amusing in their apparent desperate attempts to sell products. The management of Frito-Lay, a division of PepsiCo, who produce the old American classic box of Cracker Jacks, has added caffeine as an ingredient to their novel recipe. The original recipe’s main ingredients contain popcorn, molasses, peanuts processed sugar, corn syrup, salt, corn, soybean oil, and soy lecithin. This highly familiar 1-ounce box that I gobbled down for the first time, some 55 years ago, is packed with 52 grams of processed sugar, which is equivalent to 13 teaspoons.
What is most amusing is what Frito-Lay has named their new popcorn treat calling it “Cracker Jack’d” and will market it exclusively to adults. The amount of added caffeine will be equal to a one-ounce espresso or two 12-ounce colas. It comes as no surprise as to how the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is showing diminutive concern about the amount of caffeine being added to this product allowing it to be labeled as generally recognized as safe. Frito-Lay’s new Cracker Jack’d plans to sell two different flavors that will contain coffee as what they believe is a natural source of caffeine. According to Frito-Lay, one 2-ounce serving of Cracker Jack’d products will contain around 70 milligrams of caffeine, which is the FDA’s limit for every 12-ounces of soda.
This gives new meaning to the Take Me Out to the Ball Game unofficial anthem of baseball lyrics …buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jacks…, where Cracker Jack’d will make you root for the home team, but with some caffeine side-effects including insomnia, jitteriness, crashes, fast heartbeats and muscle tremors. Without a doubt companies like Frito-Lay are taking advantage of the growing tendencies to complain about chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), whereas a condition of being fatigued and too often feeling so tired it is critically hard to complete normal, daily activities.
While chronic fatigue syndrome has no known cause and is difficult to diagnose, its major symptoms can be treated and the right treatment is not energy drinks and greater intake of caffeinated products. The smell of fresh lemon is a great way to perk the senses and adding lemon slices to a glass of water can help fight fatigue as you hydrate. My favorite pick-me-up is to eat some nuts and iron-rich dried fruits, mainly because they have energy-boosting protein and are loaded with magnesium that is vital toward converting blood sugar into energy. An ideal fruit smoothie used to boost energy that contains 207 calories per serving includes; blending up 1-large ripe banana, ½-cup low-fat soy milk, 1-can crushed pineapple in juice (drained) or fresh pineapple, ½-cup pineapple passion sorbet, 1-tablespoon soy protein powder, and ½-cup strawberries.
Mr. Jones is a marketing strategist with the Southland Partnership Corporation (a public benefit organization), sharing his view on mismanagement practices of packaged foods & beverages.