William & Mary Business Law Review


In light of Americans’ growing love affair with caffeinated products, this Note considers not only the possibility of future regulation of those products, but also the effect that regulation would have on caffeinated product-producing companies. While there is no certainty that such regulation is in our future, the regulation of market-similar products like tobacco and alcohol, and regulations abroad on heavily caffeinated drinks, suggest American regulation of caffeinated products to be a distinct possibility. This would be a serious concern for caffeine companies, who could face reduced access to target markets as a result of FDA-imposed limitations, whether by age restriction or another similar measure. In light of this potential regulation, the next question then becomes: what can companies do to help combat foreseeable FDA regulation or governmental legislation of the caffeine industry? Can businesses in this industry predict the market effect of regulation, and thereby take effective action, by comparing regulation of market-similar products such as tobacco and alcohol?

Part I of this Note discusses the medical effects of caffeine on humans, both adults and children. Part II discusses the probability of future government regulation and the subtle hints of impending regulation. Part II also briefly examines other countries’ laws and regulations of caffeine consumption. Part III discusses and predicts the effects regulation would have on producers of caffeinated products by contrasting the caffeine industry with the tobacco industry, and looks at the effects of tobacco regulations placed on tobacco producers. Part IV discusses the effects of future regulation on caffeine-dependent Americans. Part V discusses the potential avenues businesses may take to fend off diminishing profits that would result from government regulation. Finally, this Note concludes that while businesses’ financial statements will be hurt by government regulation, businesses will be able to defend their profit model by incorporating the proffered solutions discussed in Part V.