We’ve already seen caffeinated Cracker Jacks, chewing gum, and peanut butter (some of which are already off the market), and now the founder of Jelly Belly is hoping to give a jolt to the candy market with caffeinated jelly beans.
Back in the mid-’70s David Klein came up with the idea of Jelly Belly — a jelly bean that would have flavor throughout the bean, not just on the outside — which he then sold off a few years later for a few million dollars.
Now, the L.A. Times reports, Klein is trying to get back into the candy game with a caffeine-infused jelly bean.
Unlike traditional jelly beans that tend toward sweet — or really gross with flavors like grass — the new candy fits more with its “slightly caffeinated” concept with coffee-inspired flavors.
The idea for Original Coffee House Beans was cooked up by Klein and his business partners as a way to cater to adults looking for a more sophisticated candy, you know, with a kick.
“Everybody goes to Starbucks or those kinds of places, but nobody has actually made a line of jelly beans that was inspired by the flavors of the coffee that they drink there,” Klein said.
With flavors like hot cocoa, peppermint, chai tea, coffee and doughnuts and caffe macchiato, Klein believes the candy will appeal to all kinds of coffee drinkers.
Klein and his partners recently launched a Kickstarter campaign seeking $10,000 to launch the new brand.
“We have seen people that have been able to fund their business almost immediately, and you don’t have to give up any equity portion,” he said. “We felt with Kickstarter, people would be aware of our product.”
Analysts tell the L.A. Times that the unusual candy-coffee-caffeine combination could end up being a lucrative concept.
Viraj D’Costa, an anylst with IBISWorld, says the coffee and snack industry has seen an increase in revenue in recent years, and a niche candy would be a welcome addition.
“Those actually might be things that adults are actually interested in buying,” he said. “He might have a good shot at having a product that fits in to the market.”
Still, the idea of caffeinated anything doesn’t always sit well with health advocates and regulators.
In May 2013, Wrigley pulled its Alert Energy caffeinated gum just months after it was released, shortly after the Food and Drug Administration announced it would investigate the gum and other products with additional caffeine.
And in November 2015, lawmakers urged the FDA to look into the safety of caffeinated peanut butter.
Jelly Belly inventor hopes caffeinated jelly beans will fuel his comeback [Los Angeles Times]