Mars Snackfoods U.S. is giving a jolt to its candy offerings with something new: Caffeine.
The company has launched a new product, called Snickers Charged, which is being marketed as a mid afternoon energy booster. In addition to the peanuts, nougat, caramel and chocolate, the candy bar contains 60 milligrams of caffeine, taurine and B-vitamins.
In comparison, an 8-ounce soft drink contains 20 to 40 milligrams of caffeine, an 8-ounce coffee contains 65-120 milligrams of the stimulant and an 8-ounce energy drink contains 72-80 milligrams of caffeine.
“Being that Snickers has a history as a satisfactory snack, this was a great opportunity for us to add caffeine, taurine and B-vitamins to the recipe,” Ryan Bowling Mars Snackfoods U.S. spokesperson, said.
The packaging features an image of a Rhino, which is meant to signify “energy,” he said.
The company is trying to appeal to people who are looking for an energy boost, mostly between the hours of 2 p.m. to 3 p.m., which it calls the “Snickers Charged Re-Power Hour.” A recent survey found that 64% of people said they need their energy recharged in the afternoon at least three to four times a week.
Snickers Charged is part of a growing new initiative by companies to incorporate caffeine into candy products. But despite the appeal of candy for children, Mars said it isn’t targeting kids.
To promote the product, Mars Snackfoods is hitting college campuses to hand out about 500,000 samples at basketball games. It has teamed up with AntiGravity, an entertainment theatrical company, to distribute the bar at halftime shows.
“This is all geared to a mature audience,” Bowling said. “Mars made a pact last year that it would not be marketing anything to kids under the age of 12. We are very sensitive of that.”
Radio spots on sports programs, in-store advertising, displays and online marketing at www.Snickers.com support the launch.
Snickers Charged will be available in food, mass merchant, club, convenience and drug stores through March. The limited-time offering helps Mars Snackfoods’ gauge consumer interest in the product.
“It tested well internally,” Bowling. “We feel strongly the product will do well.”
Mars Snackfoods this month also launched a new limited edition flavor of its Twix candy bar designed to give people a jolt. Twix Java is made with espresso beans and coffee-flavored caramel and will be available in stores through February.
Other companies that have infused sweets with caffeine include, Schuster Marketing, the maker of Blitz power Mints, which launched Blitz Energy Gum, a sugarfree gum, with 55 mg of caffeine per piece; Best Sweet, Inc., launched the XLR8 Energy Chew, a soft chew/supplement that includes caffeine, guarana, and ginseng and Dakota Valley Products Inc. last year launched Sunseeds, sunflower seeds infused with caffeine and other energy boosters.