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Get Your Chew On: Wrigley's New Caffeinated Gum Available for $2.99 Starting Next Month

Update Date: Mar 08, 2013 05:01 PM EST

Tired of getting your energy fix from coffee, tea or energy drinks? You're in luck because starting next month Wrigley will start selling their new caffeinated gum.

A piece of Alert Energy Caffeine Gum has about 40 milligrams of caffeine, which is equivalent to about half a cup of coffee or a 16-ounce can of soda.

Wrigley plans to start selling its caffeinated gum next month at convenience stores, supermarkets and mass retailers across the U.S.

The world's largest gum producer, known for its brands like Orbit, Eclipse, Juicy Fruit and Doublemint, says the sugar-free caffeinated gum is not intended for minors and will instead be targeted towards adults ages 25 to 49 who "want a portable product that lets them control their caffeine intake."

The Alert Energy Caffeine Gum will be available in fruit or mint flavors.  Each pack will contain eight hexagonal gum pieces with a suggested retail price of $2.99.

While the idea of caffeinated gum isn't exactly new, Wrigley believes that the "bitter taste, hexagonal pellet, primary packaging and premium price point" are what will differentiate Alert Energy Caffeine Gum in the market.

"Wrigley is focused on restoring gum category health, and that means creating functional and 'occasion-based' reasons to chew, bringing relevance back to gum," the company said in a statement.

The company said that Alert packaging will feature a warning label on the back that says the gum is "not recommended for children".

However, some experts are concerned that Wrigley's caffeinated gum will make it easier for children to get access to caffeine.

"It doesn't seem like a good idea," Roland Griffins, a professor at Johns Hopkins medical school who has studied the impact of energy drinks told CNN.  "To the extent that this makes caffeine more readily available to children, it's a potential concern."

However, Wrigley said that Alert, from its price to its bitter, medicinal taste, is likely to make it unappealing to children or teen consumers.

"The taste expectations are different for someone who wants to chew gum for energy than for someone who chews gum for flavor. If you come at this as a piece of gum that you chew for enjoyment it's not going to deliver on that," Casey Keller, president of the North America division of Wrigley, a subsidiary of Mars Inc., told Wall Street Journal.

"What we found from energy [drink] consumers is that they're used to this taste. It's symbolic of efficacy," Keller said.  "Kids won't like the taste."

"We've taken great pains to make this different than traditional gum," Keller added.

Wrigley is also urging retailers to display its new caffeinated gum with energy drinks and not gum.

"There's nothing we can do to prevent people from selling it to children," Wrigley spokeswoman Jennifer Luth told CNN. "But we've done everything we can so it's not a product for children or teens. It is absolutely designed for adults who are already using caffeine for energy."

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