Caffeine: America's Favorite Dependency
Morehead State University
Abstract Does the average American actually require multiple doses of caffeine to get through their work day? Caffeine has become the fuel for offices and college campuses all over America. Once just considered a means of intake by coffee, the caffeine market has exploded in the last 5 years to energy drinks, energy bars, and energy shots. More and more consumer beverage companies are trying to insert themselves into the caffeinated beverage market. On the surface caffeine appears to give a boost of energy and keep one working or studying longer. But does the average American consider the possible side effects of large daily caffeine intakes? Caffeine intake by itself may seem acceptable from a health perspective but what are the side effects when mixed with such things as alcohol or physical activity? This study will examine the multibillion dollar caffeine industry, the marketing techniques for caffeinated beverages, and the positives and negatives of caffeine intake.
Caffeine: America's Favorite Dependency Caffeine has been commonly used in beverages since the 1500 and 1600s (Sharpe, 2012). Early uses of caffeine were primarily coffee and tea in America. Coffee has mostly dominated the industry until recently when energy supplements such as energy drinks and energy bars have become popular. The Energy drink market is estimated to reach $19.7 billion by 2013 (Heckman, 2010). Starbucks, the largest retail coffee company in the world, has 6,705 stores open as of October 2nd, 2011 in the U.S. and has a domestic revenue of $8.03 billion per year (Starbucks Corporation 2011 Annual Report, Form 10-K, Filing Date Nov 18, 2012, 2012). While soft drinks do contain caffeine they will not be part of this study as their caffeine content is relatively low. For example, a can of Coca-Cola only contains 34mg of caffeine. With all of the profit associated with the caffeinated beverage market has anybody stopped to ask whether or not it's ethically responsible to market a product with so much caffeine? Over the last 100 years many studies of caffeine and how it affects the human body have been conducted. Negative studies like to point out that caffeine may elevate blood pressure and stress levels (Boyles, 2002). While positive studies make claims such as positive benefits on myocardial performance (Siena, 2012). Caffeine is technically a recreational drug, taken for its pleasant side effects and can lead to physical dependence. The question that brand managers and marketers marketing caffeinated products need to ask themselves is, is caffeine actually bad for you? Is caffeine detrimental enough to the body that it shouldn't be marketed the same as non caffeinated products? The following study will explain that while there may be negative opinions of caffeine today in America, there is no moral or ethical dilemma when it comes to a company marketing it.
The History of Caffeine
What is Caffeine? Coffea arabica. Caffeine is, at its most basic, a white bitter odorless powdery substance called trimethylxanthine. It is a naturally occurring chemical, although it can be synthesized and created in a laboratory. Caffeine grows naturally in different forms. Coffea arabica is type of plant who's seeds are called coffee beans. (Duke, 1983). It is a small tree, up to 16 feet tall when unpruned, that takes about 8 months to mature. Arabica coffee beans make up about 75% of the worlds coffee beans (Nicholson, 2010). The amount of caffeine in coffee beans can differ between region, year, and preparation method but a typical Arabica bean averages 1.5 percent caffeine per unit of mass. As general rule of thumb one cup of coffee has 100mg of caffeine in it. Camellia sinensis. Tea plant is a common name for Camellia sinensis (Kuntze, 2005). The leaves of this plant is what gives way to tea. The leaves