Experts call for clearer caffeine warnings on Prime Energy drinks

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Thursday 25th May 2022

Health experts have called for clearer caffeine warnings on Prime Energy drinks amid concerns over excessive consumption among children. 
Experts have raised concerns over unclear messaging on Prime Energy drinks, which contain as much caffeine as a couple cups of coffee. Prime Energy is not the same as Prime Hydrate, which is caffeine-free. Health professionals are worried that the packaging for the two products is too similar, which makes it difficult for parents and older children who can buy products independently to determine the difference. Prime has become incredibly popular since its launch in 2022. Developed by YouTubers, KSI and Logan Paul, the brand quickly became a household name, with products selling out in seconds and long lines of people camped outside stores waiting to try the new drinks. 

Dietitian, Aisling Pigott, warned of the potential dangers of consuming too much caffeine. Guidelines suggest a maximum intake of 3mg per kg of body weight. Based on these recommendations, a single can of Prime Energy would exceed the maximum daily intake of caffeine for children.

There are warnings on Prime Energy cans, but experts believe that they should be clearer. Currently, the label advises against drinking Prime Energy if you are under 18, pregnant or breastfeeding or you have heightened sensitivity to caffeine, but the information is in small print on the back of the can. Ms Pigott explained that excessive caffeine consumption can affect sleep, concentration levels and heart function in both adults and children.  Dr Prabirendra Chatterjee, a lecturer in marketing based at the University of Cardiff, suggested that the caffeine warning should be much more obvious. He advised moving the warning to the front of the can to ensure that people are aware of the caffeine content before they make a purchase. It should be clear that the drink is not suitable for children, pregnant women and those who are advised to avoid caffeine due to health issues. At present, the warning is written in small letters underneath the nutritional information at the bottom of the back of the can. 

There is no law governing the placement or clarity of caffeine warnings. Dr Chatterjee stressed that Prime was not breaking any rules but insinuated that it would be ethical to improve labelling to discourage excessive caffeine consumption. Members of the public in Cardiff were asked if they could tell the difference between the two Prime products. Most people said that they could only see that one was a bottle and one a can, with no reference to caffeine content. 

Dr Chatterjee said that health-related information should be clearly visible on the front of the packaging to make it easy for people to see and understand what they are buying. Even in the case of energy drinks, it’s not always obvious how much caffeine products contain and how content aligns with expert recommendations and guidelines. 

The caffeine content of Prime Energy is particularly concerning when it comes to children and teenagers. Prime is a popular, recognisable brand and it has become cool and trendy for teens and older children to buy the products. Prime Energy contains more than the recommended daily intake of caffeine for children. Both Prime drinks are free from added sugars, but they do contain artificial sweeteners and they are acidic, which is harmful to the teeth and gums.

Health experts advise parents and children to avoid energy drinks and fizzy drinks and opt for water and healthier options, such as sugar-free cordial and homemade fruit smoothies. Some energy drinks and fizzy pop contain a lot of sugar, as well as caffeine. They are also usually acidic, which can increase the risk of enamel erosion and tooth decay.