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Discontinued: Panera’s Controversial, Amped-Up Lemonade

news about discontinued panera's lemonade drink

Panera Bread has announced that it will be discontinuing its “Charged Lemonade (Sips)” beverages, which have been linked to at least two wrongful death lawsuits due to their elevated caffeine levels.

The decision to remove these drinks from their stores was not explicitly attributed to the lawsuits or health concerns, and Panera has refrained from commenting on the specific timeframe for their removal.

(This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy).

However, the company has stated that it will be introducing new drink options with lower sugar and caffeine content in response to customer feedback.

About Panera’s Controversial Lemonade (Charged Sips) Beverages

St. Louis-based Panera Bread introduced Charged Sips to their menu in the spring of 2022.

The fruity, amped-up concoctions contained caffeine levels ranging from 155 milligrams to 302 milligrams.

To put this into perspective, a standard 8-ounce cup of coffee typically contains around 95 milligrams of caffeine, while a 16-ounce can of Monster Energy packs approximately 160 milligrams, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Panera aimed to cater to the burgeoning demand for natural beverages with functional advantages, such as energy-boosting or immune-enhancing properties. Charged Sips derived their caffeine from guarana, an extract sourced from a plant commonly used in energy drinks, as well as green coffee extract.

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A Lemonade Lawsuit

Unfortunately for Panera, the introduction of these drinks was marred by the filing of a wrongful death and negligence lawsuit against Panera by the family of a 46-year-old man from Florida. The family alleged that their loved one’s consumption of a caffeine-infused lemonade from Panera led to his untimely demise.

Another similar lawsuit was filed in October of the same year by the family of Sarah Katz, a 21-year-old University of Pennsylvania student with a pre-existing heart condition who passed away in September 2022 after consuming a Charged Lemonade.

These legal actions have raised questions about the efficacy and safety of beverages marketed as offering more than just taste.

With U.S. sales of prebiotic and probiotic beverages experiencing a threefold increase last year, it is crucial to evaluate whether such drinks truly provide any genuine health benefits.

Another Panera Bread Beverage Lawsuit

In a separate incident, the family of a Florida man filed a wrongful death and negligence lawsuit against Panera in December.

According to the lawsuit, David Brown, 46, experienced cardiac arrest and passed away on October 9 after consuming three Charged Lemonades from his local Panera.

Brown’s family stated that he had high blood pressure and did not typically consume energy drinks, but believed that Charged Sips were safe due to their lack of explicit marketing as such.

Finally, the suit emphasized that Brown had ordered at least 7 Charged Lemonades in the two weeks leading up to his tragic demise.

According to the Associated Press, Panera has updated its online menu to include a cautionary message: “Consume in moderation. Not recommended for children, individuals sensitive to caffeine, pregnant or nursing women.” However, the exact date of this addition remains undisclosed.

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franchise article written by joel libava
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I'm The Franchise King®, Joel Libava. I help prospective franchise owners avoid bank account emptying mistakes.
For 23 years, I’ve been showing people how to make smart, informed decisions on franchises to buy, and I can help you, too!
P.S. I'm not a franchise consultant/broker.

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