With Panera's Energy Drink Gone, Starbucks Moves In

New Iced Energy drinks contain up to 205mg of caffeine in a 24-oz. container
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 25, 2024 11:36 AM CDT
With Panera's Energy Drink Gone, Starbucks Moves In
The three new additions on Starbucks' menu.   (Starbucks via People)

Want the caffeine hit that six cans of Coke offer, but without having to gulp down six cans of Coke? Starbucks has your fix, and not everyone is happy about it. The company's new Iced Energy beverage debuts less than two months after Panera dumped its highly caffeinated Charged Lemonade, which was tied to the deaths of at least two people. That beverage had 390 milligrams of caffeine in a 30-ounce size, per NBC News. The new 24-ounce Starbucks drinks have substantially less: 180mg in the Melon Burst flavor, and 205mg in the Tropical Citrus flavor—which is still the equivalent of a six-pack of Coke.

However, the Iced Energy drinks use artificial sweeteners, not sugar like the Panera beverage, which also featured guarana extract, a stimulant used in weight loss that isn't meant to be used over the long haul in large amounts. According to the FDA, most healthy adults should be able to consume 400mg of caffeine daily, which is about four or five cups of coffee. Still, "there is wide variation in both how sensitive people are to the effects of caffeine and how fast they metabolize it (break it down)," the agency notes. There's no set caffeine cap for kids, and Starbucks didn't respond to NBC's query on what the coffee chain would do to keep children from downing its new libations. (More Starbucks stories.)

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