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Caffeinated snack foods the new energy craze

Monday - 4/29/2013, 4:00am  ET

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Jelly Belly was at the forefront of the caffeinated food industry when they came out with Sport Beans in 2007. (Jellybelly.com)

WASHINGTON - Coffee is so yesterday.

Energy drinks? Passť.

The Wall Street Journal reports companies are taking the obsession with caffeine to a new, more chewable form. From jerky to candy and even condiments, companies are cashing in on a caffeine-crazed nation.

Frito-Lay, for example, now offers Cracked Jack'D Power Bites in Cocoa Java and Vanilla Mocha flavors. In 2007, Jelly Belly came out with caffeinated Extreme Sport Beans.

There's even Perky Jerky, Wired caffeinated waffles and DoubleKick brand hot sauce.

While the industry of caffeinated food products is still small compared with energy drinks, The Wall Street Journal reports sales in the U.S. have increased nearly 50 percent to $1.6 billion since 2008.

Amped-up food is a unique challenge because of caffeine's bitter taste, but the real challenge for companies' may be bigger in that health regulators will look at the industry in a new way, according to The Wall Street Journal.

There's also concern caffeinated snacks will be more desirable to children.

Other products on the market, or coming soon are:

  • Wrigley's Alert gum
  • X8 Energy Gum
  • Caffex Chocomallows (marshmallows)
  • Loud Truck Energy Gummi Bears
  • GU Energy Gel

WTOP's David Burd contributed to this report. Follow @DavidBurdWTOP and @WTOP on Twitter.

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