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As legislators push for warnings, energy drinks sales soar

BY Barbara White-Sax

The energy drink category, which has enjoyed double-digit sales and unit growth for several years, faces increasing scrutiny from the Food and Drug Administration.

The FDA has said it will consider requiring companies to disclose the amount of caffeine in the drinks and add warnings about possible side effects on labeling.

Now Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill.; Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn.; and Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., ramped up the issue with a letter sent to the manufacturers of 14 energy drink brands, urging them to release ingredient information on the amounts of stimulants used and to provide data on any health and marketing claims made by the products.

Does regulation loom on the horizon? "A lot of politicians are pushing for changes in caffeine disclosure, and there is some risk that they could push for further restrictions, such as age-gating," said Thomas Mullarkey, an analyst at Morningstar. "The caffeine disclosure is possible, but restrictions could open the gate to regulating coffee — and that is never going to happen."

So far, the controversy has not had much of an impact on category sales. "There hasn’t been any impact. Value and volume continue to grow in the category, suggesting that consumers aren’t fazed by this," Mullarkey said.

 

 

The article above is part of the DSN Category Review Series. For the complete Beverages Buy-In Report, including extensive charts, data and more analysis, click here.

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Paul McIlhenny, head of Tabasco company, passes away

BY Jason Owen

AVERY ISLAND, La. — Paul McIlhenny — chief executive of McIlhenny Co., makers of Tabasco sauce, and great-grandson of Edmund McIlhenny, who invented Tabasco sauce after the Civil War — passed away on Saturday. He was 68.

Paul Carr Polk McIlhenny was born in Houston on March 19, 1944, with his twin sister, Sara. He attended the Woodberry Forest School in Virginia and the University of the South in Tennessee, and served stateside in the Marine Corps Reserve.

McIlhenny joined the family business in 1967 and was groomed by his cousin Walter McIlhenny, then president of the company. His first jobs included loading peppers in the field, processing the pepper mash and loading cases of sauce onto rail cars. He lived on the West Coast to learn the company’s retail sales and food broker operations.

McIlhenny would become chief executive in 2000. During his tenure as CEO, the company enjoyed record growth, thanks in part to the introduction of new products, such as chipotle, sweet and spicy and Buffalo-style hot sauces and the expansion of a catalog business that sells Tabasco neckties and teddy bears. McIlhenny also formed licensing deals with the makers of A1 steak sauce, Spam, Cheez-Its and other supermarket staples.

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Sunsweet offers new healthier snack options

BY Jason Owen

YUBA CITY, Calif — Americans love to snack, but they don’t always have to settle for treats sacrificing good taste for healthier ingredients. Sunsweet — a leading brand of dried plums, specialty dried fruits and fruit juices — bolsters that advice with its newest offerings: Amazin’ Berry Blend and Amazin’ Cranberries.

Both new blends include Plum Amazin’s diced plums, which studies have shown can help fight osteoporosis by preventing bone mineral loss and contain potassium, copper, boron and vitamin K.

Sunsweet’s Amazin’ Berry Blend combines Plum Amazin’s diced plums, cranberries, blueberries and cherries to create a sweet-and-tart blend.

With Amazin’ Cranberries, Sunsweet steps into the popular cranberry market. Cranberries have grown consistently at 30% over the last three years. Amazin’ Cranberries offer 23% less sugar and 12% fewer calories than standard cranberry-only options. The sweet Plum Amazin’s diced plums serve as a great complement to the tart, albeit popular, cranberries, resulting in truly Amazin’ Cranberries, which are great for snacking, using as a topping or baking.

"Consumers continue to seek convenient snacks that also offer nutritional value. Our new Amazin’ products provide healthy snack options with less sugar and fewer calories for increasingly health-minded consumers," said Dane Lance, president of Sunsweet Growers.

Amazin’ Berry Blend and Amazin’ Cranberries are now available in retail locations.


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