Pepsi Launches Darth Vader Themed Energy Drink

Japan has been the testing ground for some of the most innovative products recently. Fast food chains have experimented with gourmet burgers, themed options and even a burger buffet. Now Pepsi is introducing a new Pepsi Energy Cola exclusively in Japan that features infamous Star Wars villain Darth Vader on its can.

This isn’t the first unique drink Pepsi has created oversees. Earlier this month the brand introduced Pepsi Special, a fat-blocking soda with a fiber molecule called “dextrin”, intended to prevent the digestive system from absorbing fat. The Japanese government has affirmed that dextrin colas are “food for specific health use”, based on findings that indicated that rats fed dextrin and fat at the same time absorbed less fat than those that ate fat alone.

Pepsi also introduced a tangerine-flavored clear soda called Pepsi White. Pepsi White will be available in Japan starting December 11th, and the bottles are decorated with snowmen in tune with the holiday season. Mandarin oranges are associated with the New Year in Japan, which helps to explain the origins behind this particular Pepsi offering.

Darth Vader themed Pepsi Energy Cola is now available across Japan. There is no word on how exactly the product correlates to Star Wars, but featuring such a popular character is sure to create a buzz. The product is made with ginseng, guarana extract, caffeine and royal jelly extract. Royal jelly extract is a secretion from honey bees which is meant to feed adult queen bees and larvae. While energy drinks continue to rise in popularity, some of the ingredients in Pepsi’s new drink sounds suspect. But who are we to judge until we try it? Hopefully some of these unique Pepsi products will cross the ocean soon so we can fully weigh in on them.

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Starbucks Breaks out New Energy Drink

Global Coffee chain Starbucks is getting amped up with a new juice operation opening on Washington, and now a new line of energy drinks to be released in April.

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz told shareholders, “Starbucks is firing on all cylinders. We are now creating lots of Starbucks products to live outside of our stores.” The new energy drink products will be called Starbucks Refreshers, and they come in Raspberry Pomegranate, Strawberry Lemonade and Orange Melon.

Energy drinks are an $8 billion dollar industry, and Starbucks will certainly be butting heads with Red Bull, and other energy drink makers. Red Bull, which will soon introduce a zero calorie, sugar and carbohydrate energy drink, had no comment about Starbucks Refreshers.

The drinks are carbonated, high in antioxidants, and contain fruit juice as well as green coffee extract, with no coffee taste. Each 12-ounce can contains 60 calories and about two-thirds the caffeine as a shot of espresso. Starbucks is hoping to match their sales at retail locations with their consumer product goods segment. Its first Evolution Fresh juicery just opened in Bellevue, Washington, with plans to open nationally over the next year.

Starbucks Refreshers will sell for $1.99, and will be sold at 160,000 stores by April, and will soon be available made-to-order at Starbucks locations.

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Aeroshot is Now Pending FDA Investigation

We recently found out about the new inhalable caffeine product called Aeroshot, a convenient lemon-lime canister providing a burst of energy plus B vitamins. Now however, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is investigating whether Aeroshot is safe for consumers, even though the product is labeled as a dietary supplement.

Spearheaded by Senator Charles Schumer, the main concern the FDA has with Aeroshot is that it will be misused primarily by kids and teens in a harmful manner. This reaction is largely based on the previous caffeinated fads like Four Loko, which young people used as a means to drink to excess. Because of how easy it is to inhale a serving of caffeine, Schumer is concerned that people will “take hit after hit in rapid succession”. Pressure from Senator Schumer and others facilitated the FDA’s decision to curb the sale of beverages like Four Loko, after it was dubbed “blackout in a can”.

The makers of Aeroshot, including Harvard biomedical engineering professor David Edwards, feel that the product is safer than many others on the market because it does not contain taurine and other additives that enhance the effect of caffeine in most energy drinks. Each $2.99 canister contains B vitamins and 100 milligrams of caffeine powder, the equivalent amount of a large cup of coffee.

Aeroshot is currently sold in New York, Massachusetts and France. The product avoided an FDA review because it is sold as a dietary supplement, however now Aeroshot is pending review. The company, Breathable Foods, said they will fully cooperate with the FDA and are confident that the product will be found to be safe. Proper consumption directions are included on the label, and Aeroshot is not recommended or marketed for those under 18.

On the company website it says, “When used in accordance with its label, Aeroshot provides a safe shot of caffeine and B vitamins for ingestions. Caffeine has been proven to offer a variety of potential benefits for health to individuals when consumed in moderation, from providing energy to enhancing attention and focus.”

While the opportunity for abuse of this product is certainly out there, comparing it to a caffeinated alcoholic beverage such as Four Loko is a little extreme. Caffeine pills have been available at convenience stores for years, so unless the FDA can prove that the method of inhaling caffeine is somehow more potent or addictive than simply taking a pill, than all the ingredients for the next club drug are already out there, with or without Aeroshot.

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Aeroshot is a New way to Inhale your Caffeine

The newest caffeinated product isn’t an energy drink or a pill, but instead an inhalable tube with a caffeinated powder inside. Aeroshot contains 100 milligrams of caffeine powder, about the same amount in a large cup of coffee, and recently went on the market in Massachusetts, New York and France.

Aeroshot tubes are small enough, and can be purchased for about $3 at convenience stores or online. The powder is calorie-free, and consumers can shoot a puff of the lemon-lime powder into their mouths (each container has up to six puffs), dissolving instantly. Aeroshot has a lemon-lime flavor, which some find delicious, while others are less enthusiastic about the taste.

However there is some concern about the safety of this product. Senator Charles Schumer is calling for the FDA to review Aeroshot after previous risky behavior centered around overly caffeinated products. Four Loko in particular is a caffeinated malt beverage that appealed to younger people and was dubbed a “blackout in a can”. Schumer is worried that Aeroshot will be used a club drug in conjunction with alcohol so people can continue to drink all night. There are other concerns that with an inhalable caffeine product people might consumer more caffeine than they normally would in a shorter time-span, simply because of how easy it is to consume.

Aeroshot co-founder professor David Edwards claims that the product is completely safe and contains no additives that related products use to increase the effect of caffeine. While acknowledging Schumer’s concerns, Edwards notes that Aeroshot isn’t targeting younger users, and with any new product there’s bound to be a reaction. The product’s packaging also warns people not to consume more than three Aeroshots per day.

Other reactions have compared Aeroshot to traditional coffee; many people who have sampled the product say they would never give up their morning coffee for a product such as this. The makers of Aeroshot are not expecting a radical change in people’s behavior, but rather to provide an easy solution for people with active lifestyles to absorb the caffeine they need.

Aeroshot is currently manufactured in France in conjunction with Edwards and a French chef. Edwards has had experience in breathable foods before, making a breathable chocolate several years ago. He is currently in the process of creating a new product called Le Whaf, which involves low-calorie food and drink futuristic ‘clouds’ of flavor in glass bowls.

DailyFoodtoEat is the official blog of FoodtoEat, a sustainable online food ordering and concierge catering service featuring your favorite restaurants, food trucks and caterers. Check out the deliciousness here: