Dunkin unveils new caffeinated energy drinks months after Panera controversy

(KTLA) – Dunkin, famous for providing Americans their caffeine fix with coffee, unveiled its new line of SPARkD’ Energy by Dunkin iced energy drinks. The new menu items come after multiple lawsuits were filed against Panera Bread for its energy drink.

In October, a college student with a heart condition died after drinking Panera Bread’s Charged Lemonade. The student’s parents filed a lawsuit against the company, saying the “dangerous” beverage contained more caffeine than one can of Red Bull and one can of Monster energy drink combined.

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Another man died after drinking three cups of the drink, and a woman said the drink caused her to develop permanent heart problems.

Panera’s Charged Lemonade, which comes in a 30-ounce cup, contains up to 234 mg of caffeine. The company still sells three other “charged” drinks, according to its website.

For comparison, a medium-sized SPARKD’ drink has 144 milligrams of caffeine, and the large size has 192 milligrams.

Health officials with the Food and Drug Administration say healthy adults can have up to 400 milligrams of caffeine daily, about four or five cups of coffee.

However, it has been all bad news for food companies that have added energy drinks to their menus. McDonald’s spin-off restaurant, CosMc’s, has a variety of beverages with “energy bursts” caffeine syrup on its menu.

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Despite the controversy, energy drinks continue to be popular among consumers, especially men aged 18 to 34.

A report from Mintel found that energy drinks garnered more than $21 billion in U.S. sales in 2022 and were forecasted to grow another 7% in 2023.

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