The 0.8oz snack bites pack the equivalent of one espresso shot, or 65mg of caffeine, and clock in at or under 100 calories.
The company's first product, 1.6oz bars, contain the equivalent of one cup of coffee, or about 95mg of caffeine.
Both versions are made from dates, oats, nut butters and FairTrade coffee beans, with no added sugar.
“The new product decision came from hundreds of customer interviews and our focus on building a platform of naturally caffeinated snacks powered by real coffee,” co-founder and CEO Johnny Fayad told BakeryandSnacks.
Finding a spark
The life of the bars began in the Northeastern University dorm room of Fayad and Ali Kothari, soon garnering popularity among fellow students needing a ‘caffeine fix’ during long days – what they refer to as a ‘slump buster’.
The duo sold a few thousand bars from the university library and officially launched the brand in retail stores in 2015. Last year, they sold more than one million bars in over 1,000 US stores, primarily on the East Coast.
Eat Your Coffee now uses a manufacturer in Spokane, Washington, to produce the bars and bites. Bars come in three coffee-focused flavors – Fudgy Mocha Latte, Peanut Butter Mocha and Salted Caramel Macchiato – for an RRP of $19.99 for a pack of eight or $34.99 for a pack of 15. (At stores, they run about $2.29 to $2.99 per bar.)
The bites are available on the company's website in two flavors – Cocoa Espresso and Pumpkin Spice – for an RRP of $17.99 for a pack of 12.
A good cause
Eat Your Coffee decided to launch the bites a few weeks before the Boston Marathon in part because one of their employees, sales manager Allen Meringolo, will be running it. The partnership with Fresh Truck will not only raise money but also awareness for the nonprofit's new program called FreshConnect, a platform that allows healthcare providers to write 'food prescriptions.'
The combination approach made sense “to promote our launch and help a good cause," said Fayad.
Caffeinated foods make a splash
Consumers can find caffeine in all matter of food and beverage today, with energy bars now a common source.
Chicago-based RxBar, for instance, makes a coffee and chocolate bar with 5mg of caffeine. Awake Caffeinated Chocolate packs a cup of coffee’s worth into its bars.
It’s not just coffee, either. Verb, another company started by college students, make 0.78oz bars with 100mg of caffeine from green tea. Tea Squares, also based in Chicago, sell mini cereal bars from millet and nuts that carry 30mg of caffeine from green or black tea.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has said that healthy adults can safely consume about 400mg of caffeine per day, but effects vary widely from person to person.
In 2012, the Center for Science in the Public Interest, an advocacy group, called out caffeinated snacks as potentially dangerous to children and adolescents. Just last year, the FDA took steps to address added caffeine in dietary supplements and in food and beverage, after a wave of such products entered the marketplace.
The regulatory agency had not addressed caffeine since the 1950s, when it approved its use in cola.