Energy drinks have surged dramatically since the recession.Energy drinks have surged dramatically since the recession. Why? The nation needed a caffeine jolt apparently. Their sales surged so much that it inspired several other food and beverage brands to add a little caffeine also. According to IRi, unit sales rose in only three of the 10 largest center-store categories during 52 weeks ended Sept. 9, 2012 across multiple outlets: coffee (4.5%), energy drinks (18.7%), and bottled water (4.6%). Adds Packaged Facts: U.S. sales of energy drinks and shots exceeded $12.5 billion in 2012 and could reach $21.5 billion by 2017. Adding caffeine to products has become such a trend that the FDA has had to put a pause on caffeine fever to do some investigating. In particular? Its effects on children and adolescents. Lately we've seen caffeine in everything from gum to glazed popcorn to gummy bears and marshmallows, products that clearly appeal to a younger age group. No telling how long the FDA will take to investigate, or what they will conclude, or even how compliant major manufacturers will be. But until then, America might have to hold off on the energy buzz and just rely on good old fashioned fresh air and rest!