Panera Bread to Phase out Charged Lemonade

Charged Lemonade, Panera Bread’s highly caffeinated beverage, is being phased out nationwide. Three current lawsuits link the drink to several health issues and two deaths. Fans of the drink are stocking up and finding ways to make their own charged lemonade at home. A spokesperson for Panera did not specify when all locations would stop selling the drink but denied any wrongdoing in response to the lawsuits.

Loyalty programs like Panera’s Unlimited Sip Club are effective in building a customer base by offering perceived value. Liz Parker from Michigan consumes Charged Lemonade daily and has stored several cups in her fridge and freezer. Similarly, Bruce Tarburton, a student at the University of Oregon, relied on the drink for its caffeine boost.

Despite the lawsuits, many loyal customers do not believe the drink poses a risk to their health. The lawsuits describe Charged Lemonade as a “dangerous energy drink,” with a large serving containing 390 milligrams of caffeine. The FDA states that 400 milligrams of caffeine per day is generally safe for healthy adults. In response to the lawsuits, Panera moved the drink behind the counter and updated its caffeine information.

Panera plans to introduce new beverages, including Blueberry Lavender Lemonade and Pomegranate Hibiscus Tea, following feedback from over 30,000 guests. However, it remains unclear whether these new drinks will contain caffeine. Some customers have reduced their consumption of Charged Lemonade due to the legal issues, while others continue to seek out their favorite drink before it’s gone for good.

New Version of Jeopardy to Stream on Prime Video

Iconic game show “Jeopardy!” is celebrating its 60th anniversary by making its streaming debut. Prime Video has commissioned “Pop Culture Jeopardy!,” a new spin-off that marks the first time “Jeopardy!” has been developed exclusively for a leading streaming platform.

This modern adaptation by Amazon introduces a fresh approach, featuring teams of three contestants who will tackle a variety of pop culture-themed categories, ranging from music and sports to Broadway and celebrities.

While the host has not yet been announced, the show will maintain the classic “answer-and-question” format, and will be produced by Michael Davies, the producer of the traditional TV version. The release date for “Pop Culture Jeopardy!” is still unknown, but it will be available exclusively to Prime Video’s 200 million-plus global subscribers.

This is not the show’s first foray into spin-offs or streaming; “Sports Jeopardy!” previously aired on Sony’s Crackle service. As part of its expansion into digital content, Amazon continues to invest heavily in its streaming services, including Prime Video and Freevee, with spending on video and music reaching nearly $19 billion last year, up 14% from 2022. In response to these rising costs, Prime Video has introduced an optional ad-supported service, with an ad-free upgrade available for an additional $2.99 per month.

Equinox Launches $40K Longevity Program

Equinox, the high-end fitness chain, is making a bold move into the longevity and wellness market with the launch of “Optimize by Equinox”. At $40,000 a year, Optimize is one of the most expensive health programs in the world. In partnership with lab testing startup Function Health, this program represents a paradigm shift in the quest to slow aging and increase vitality.

The program starts with comprehensive diagnostic testing of 100 biomarkers, covering everything from heart, liver, and kidney health to metabolic function, immunity, cancer markers, and nutrient levels. Equinox then conducts advanced fitness assessments like VO2 max, strength, and mobility. This data is used to create a personalized plan for each member.

Central to Optimize is a dedicated “pit crew” for each participant, including top-tier personal trainers, nutrition coaches, sleep experts, and massage therapists. Members receive 16 hours per month of coaching across three weekly personal training sessions, twice-monthly nutrition and sleep consultations, and monthly massage therapy.

The program’s pricing of $3,000 per month, plus an Equinox membership fee, firmly targets the ultra-wealthy demographic. It launches first in New York City and Highland Park, Texas before a planned nationwide rollout to Equinox’s elite “E Clubs.”

The move allows Equinox to capitalize on the convergence of fitness, nutrition, and biotech while expanding beyond its traditional gym business into preventative health and longevity services for affluent customers. Function Health’s co-founder views it as closing “the loop” to enable people to live 100 healthy years through data-driven daily practices.


GNC Responds to Changes in the Market

GNC is implementing a novel strategy to revitalize its brand and attract customers. This well-known chain specializing in vitamins and dietary supplements is shifting its focus to the burgeoning market of GLP-1 medication users. These medications, which include popular weight loss drugs like Ozempic and Wegovy, have been linked to side effects such as muscle loss and gastrointestinal issues. In response, GNC has launched a dedicated “support section” in its 2,300 stores across the United States. This section features specially tailored vitamins, protein shakes, and supplements designed to assist individuals managing these side effects.

GNC is also enhancing its customer service by training employees on the nuances of GLP-1 medications and the best products to mitigate common side effects. This initiative is part of the company’s broader effort to position itself as a supportive retailer in the health and wellness landscape, particularly as the usage of GLP-1 drugs is expected to rise dramatically.

This strategic pivot comes after GNC filed for bankruptcy in 2020, subsequently closing over 1,200 stores. The move reflects a broader trend where businesses, from gyms to food manufacturers, are adapting their offerings to cater to the needs of individuals on GLP-1 medications.

Even food giants like Nestlé are shifting their focus towards more nutritious products that align with the dietary needs of GLP-1 users, highlighting a significant shift in consumer habits towards healthier options. Through these strategic changes, GNC aims to not only recover from its financial challenges but also lead in a market poised for substantial growth.

Apple lags behind Samsung in Sales

According to data from IDC, in the first quarter of 2024, Apple’s smartphone shipments witnessed a 10% decline, falling to 50.1 million units from 55.4 million a year earlier. This drop was attributed to increased competition from Android manufacturers, with Samsung reclaiming the top spot as the world’s leading phone maker. Thanks to robust sales of its Galaxy S24 series, Samsung’s market share rose to 20.8%.

Meanwhile, Apple slipped to second place with a 17.3% market share, despite a strong performance in the previous quarter. Chinese brands like Huawei continue to expand their presence, intensifying the competitive landscape. Xiaomi remains in third place, holding a 14.1% market share.

The overall global smartphone market grew by 7.8%, totaling 289.4 million units shipped in the January-March period. Apple’s challenges were particularly pronounced in China, where its shipments dipped by 2.1% in the last quarter of 2023 amid local restrictions on the use of its devices.

As Apple gears up for its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June, the tech community is eagerly anticipating updates on its software and potential advancements in artificial intelligence integration. These developments are closely watched by investors, especially after Apple recently lost its title as the world’s most valuable company to Microsoft.