Joining the highly caffeinated marketplace of five-hour energy drinks, sodas that offer big jolts and the traditional cup of coffee, Wrigley—the world's largest gum producer—announced plans March 8 to start selling caffeinated chewing gum next month.
While it's not the first caffeinated gum, Alert Energy will be the first to be widely distributed in the nation's convenience stores, supermarkets and mass retailers.
One piece is equal to about a half cup of coffee or a 16-ounce soda.
The Wall Street Journal reports that some health experts aren't sweet on the idea, but Wrigley says the gum will bear a warning label and cost $3 a pack—about twice as much as regular gum.
It also has a bitter, medicinal flavor.
"If you come at this as a piece of gum that you chew for enjoyment, it's not going to deliver on that," Wrigley President Casey Keller told the Journal. "Kids won't like the taste."
The Center for Science in the Public Interest blasted the idea and decried the growing proliferation of caffeinated foods and drinks.
"It doesn't seem like a good idea," said Roland Griffins, a professor at Johns Hopkins medical school. "To the extent that this makes caffeine more readily available to children, it's a potential concern."