The most-caffeinated products have the least regulation, CHOICE finds

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 12th December 2012

Australia’s leading consumer group CHOICE has put caffeine to the test across a range of products, finding that product labels do not give consumers “the full picture.”

The CHOICE findings come at a time when governments have been considering new policy towards regulation of caffeinated beverages. The findings also suggest that energy drinks are not necessarily the main source of caffeine intake in all age groups.

CHOICE compared a range of products in which caffeine is present including many scrutinised energy drinks; but CHOICE found that the most caffeinated product per mg of caffeine was a long black coffee.

According to CHOICE, many Australians may not realise how much caffeine they are consuming in a standard-sized coffee.  Australians consume more than one billion coffees from retail outlets alone each year, an increase of 65 per cent over the past decade.

CHOICE compared all products in the closest serving size to 500ml, finding that a long black (253 mg per cup) and a cappuccino (160 mg per cup) contained the most caffeine, even though natural sources of caffeine such as coffee are not required to label the presence or how much caffeine the product contains.

The research found that energy drinks V and Red Bull contained significantly less caffeine than a long black coffee, but are required under Australian food standards to limit the caffeine content to 320 mg/L and display the caffeine content on the label.

“We looked at the packaging of a range of energy drinks, cola drinks, over-the-counter medications and weight loss and sports supplements and found all were labelled appropriately,” a CHOICE spokesperson said.

“At the very least, we want all caffeine-containing product makers  – from soft drink manufacturers to coffee chains – to provide caffeine content information on their websites. And, where it’s not mandatory, we think producers should consider voluntarily labelling the presence of caffeine on their product packaging,” the CHOICE spokesperson said.

Watching  your intake, and list of results

CHOICE have made a series of  recommendations for consumers about coffee intakes in the article at their website, including  a table of all the products that were surveyed with the results of the survey, product-by-product.