In addition to various snack foods that are intentionally fortified with caffeine, other foods with caffeine include those that contain coffee, tea, or chocolate as an ingredient. In an attempt to meet customer demand for energizing snack foods, it is now possible to find a full range of snacks with added caffeine, including caffeinated beef sticks and caffeinated mints. Other foods that may not specifically be marketed or sold as foods with caffeine, such as coffee ice cream, green tea cookies, or chocolate pudding, can still contain some caffeine, which is something that individuals who are concerned about caffeine consumption should be aware of.
Caffeine is a natural compound found in different plants, acting as a natural insecticide that protects the plants against devastation by bugs. In humans, caffeine is a stimulant that can temporarily raise mental alertness and help people stay awake. Although caffeine has a naturally bitter taste, many people greatly enjoy foods and beverages made from plants after they have been processed in ways that can mitigate the bitterness while enhancing other flavors. Tea and coffee are two commonly consumed beverages that are also used as flavoring agents in various types of food. The cacao bean also contains caffeine and is used to make cocoa and chocolate, both of which are frequently used in many different foods, and chocolate is frequently consumed on its own.
Some food companies add caffeine to foods that do not contain chocolate or other foods in which caffeine naturally occurs. This is typically done because many people rely on caffeine as a way of remaining awake and alert while working or engaging in recreation. In some jurisdictions, companies that add caffeine to foods must indicate on product labels that the food contains added caffeine. This is because the general public may not associate these foods with caffeine, and some individuals may not wish to consume caffeine for religious or health reasons.
Other foods with caffeine include various sauces, spice mixes, and desserts. For example, mole is a chocolate-based sauce typically used in Mexican cuisine which, because of its cocoa content, does contain some caffeine. Some cooks now use ground tea in spice rub mixes, which can be applied to various types of foods, typically meats and fish, before cooking. In the United States and Europe, typical foods with caffeine include ice creams, cakes, and cookies made with chocolate or coffee and increasingly green tea, which is becoming a more accepted flavor in these regions.