As an MBA candidate in Boston, Jason Kensey loved caffeine, but hated the taste of energy drinks and didn't drink coffee, preferring caffeinated sodas with tons of sugar. His disappointment with caffeinated beverages led him to start Vroom Foods in 1996, a company that makes high-energy snacks. Vroom's two primary products, chocolate chews and mints, promise 25% more caffeine than a leading energy drink, at about the same price. (A six-count tin of the chews costs $2.99 to $3.99; a six-pack of mints costs about $1.25 to $1.75).
Vroom Foods' Chocolate Buzz Bites and FOOSH Energy Mints
Looks like: The packaging for both products is simple and straightforward, with minimalistic design centered around the product logos. The chocolate chews are a dark brown and resemble whipped chocolate (like a Three Muskateers candy bar) on the inside; the mints are white with flecks of blue throughout, like a Certs on steroids.
Tastes like: The Chocolate Buzz Bites are delicious, filled with a dark, rich chocolate flavor that's sweet enough to tickle the taste buds without an instant toothache. The FOOSH mints pack a potent peppermint mint kick; biting into one is akin to chewing fire crackers.
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Smells like: The chocolate chews smell like melted fudge, and the mints smell, well, minty.
Caffeine and other contents: Each chocolate chew and mint contains 100 mg of caffeine, 20 more mg each than one can of Red Bull. Each product also contains a blend of ginseng, Taurine, and B vitamins. People who are leery of artificial sweeteners and hydrogenated oils should know that the chews contain corn syrup and partially hydrogenated coconut oil, and the mints contain aspartame.
Caffeine kick: Both products do what they purport to do -- provide an instant energy kick that's sudden but subtle. The mints, in particular, are real eye-openers, and chewing on them and breathing into the air is akin to rubbing Vicks VapoRub around your nose. The chocolate chews also give a good energy boost, but they taste so yummy that it's hard to eat just one at a time, and consumers could quickly get wired to the gills eating them. -- Niki D'Andrea