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There's a Huge Shortage of This Popular Beverage Ingredient

Yes, it's true. From coffee and tea to soda and energy drinks, this news could seriously affect your day.

If you've got something blissfully caffeinated in your hand right now, you may want to hang onto it tightly. A new report has revealed a shortage in the world's caffeine supply. Here's what you need to know.

The global caffeine shortage apparently first started to turn heads within the beverage industry last fall. At that point, it seemed like the pandemic was a factor that made it tough for some countries to keep their soda supplies stocked. Beneath the surface, another critical influence was brewing.

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China is said to be the world's biggest exporter of synthetic caffeine, reportedly supplying up to 70% of the U.S. market's synthetic caffeine product. The problem is that in China, caffeine is a controlled substance… and since last winter, the Chinese government has been slow to approve an export license so that their synthetic caffeine supply could be shipped around the world. Per one account, this meant global caffeine supply was getting tight, while prices were rising.

A key point is that this has a larger effect on artificially caffeinated drinks—think your soda and energy drinks—more than naturally amped beverages like coffee and tea. Fortunately, there's a trend that's seeing more consumers recognizing the benefit of choosing products that get their caffeine content from natural sources like green tea. (Read The Best Energy Drinks for 2021, According To Dietitians).

Still, while the past year has seen a lot of strange shortages… caffeine? Sign up for the Eat This, Not That! newsletter to stay up on the daily grocery and nutrition news you read.

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Krissy Gasbarre
Krissy is a senior news editor at Eat This, Not That!, managing morning and weekend news related to nutrition, wellness, restaurants and groceries (with a focus on beverages), and more. Read more about Krissy
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