Panera Charged Lemonade Controversy depicting a tweet referencing the beverage.

Panera Charged Lemonade Controversy

Updated Dec 06, 2023 at 05:28PM EST by Zach.

Added Feb 19, 2023 at 10:25PM EST by ニコがいた.

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The Panera Charged Lemonade Controversy refers to a series of lawsuits and online discussions surrounding fast-casual cafe Panera Bread and its line of highly caffeinated lemonade drinks called "Charged Lemonade," which was allegedly poorly labeled and dangerous for consumption, leading to two wrongful death suits in 2023. A large Charged Lemonade reportedly has 390 milligrams of caffeine, while the average shot of espresso has around 63.


Panera Bread rolled out a line of highly caffeinated beverages it calls "Charged Lemonades" in several flavors in early 2022.[1] According to its site, Panera describes the drinks as "the ultimate energy drink guaranteed to charge up your day. Powered by Clean caffeine from guarana and green coffee extract."

Shortly after their introduction, online users on TikTok, the /r/Panera subreddit and other places of online discussion began highlighting the risks and caffeine content of these charged lemonades. For example, on February 25th, 2022, Redditor /u/NeverTrustAnOpenDoor made a post (seen below) describing the caffeine of the drinks, which received over 140 upvotes in nearly two years.[2]

↑ r/Panera. Posted by u/NeverTrust An OpenDoor 2 years ago 147 Charged Lemonade Caffeine Content ↓ New Celebration So we got some more details on the upcoming C2 roll-outs today, including some about the new charged lemonades. Specifically that said new charged lemonades average at 260mg of caffeine per 20oz drink. Which means 13mg of caffeine per ounce... Red Bull has 9mg per ounce... Monster has 10mg... A moment of silence for all of the parents whose kids are going to want to try "the new flavored lemonades," and for all of the poor cafe workers that'll have to deal with both the kids AND their parents 72 Comments Share Save ...

On TikTok, user sarahebaus said that the Mango Yuzu Citrus Charged Lemonade at Panera Bread contained 260 milligrams of caffeine in a TikTok video (shown below, left) on December 8th, 2022, saying the Mango Yuzu charged lemonade "should be illegal," earning over 200,000 likes in a year.[3]

Many also posted ironic jokes about the lemonade, like TikToker @babbitykate (seen below, right) who posed a video on July 11th, 2023, about the "freedom" that the Charged Lemonades symbolized, earning over 2,000 likes in five months.[5]

The Charged Lemonades were also notably included in Panera's Unlimited Sip Cup, a monthly subscription service that offered people the opportunity to buy unlimited drinks. Employees and fans of Panera also complained about the Charged Lemonades on the subreddit throughout 2022 and 2023.[9]


Wrongful Death Lawsuits

In late October 2023, a lawsuit was filed against Panera by the family of a 21-year-old woman with a heart condition who had died after drinking the Charged Lemonade in September 2022.[6] According to an official statement by the company, Panera was "saddened by the death."

A second lawsuit was then filed in December 2023 against Panera for the death of a 46-year-old man who suffered a cardiac arrest after drinking three charged lemonades in October 2023. The man, who had high blood pressure, was reportedly unaware that the Charge Lemonades were actually potent energy drinks.[4]

Online Reactions

Following the first death allegedly related to the caffeinated beverages, online discourse began increasing across social media platforms as news coverage followed suit. On X, some like user @MaxKriegerVC joked (seen below, left) that Panera had discovered the "fifth loko,"[10] earning over 100 likes in two months for their post on October 26th, 2023.[7] On November 18th, user @hebennigatu joked (seen below, right) about the lemonade in relation to the national Adderall shortage, earning over 1,400 likes in a similar timeframe.[8]

3 maxkriegervg bsky social @MaxKriegerVG 31m panera has apparently discovered the fifth loko CHARGED LEMONADE 6 STRAWBERRY LEMON MINT Plant-based and Clean with as much caffeine as our Dark Roast coffee 20 fl oz | 280 cal | 260 mg caffeine 30 fl oz | 430 cal | 390 mg caffeine widiryaruoter A regular sized charged drink has 260mg of caffeine in it, and the large is 390mg The daily recommended is 400mg caffeine content is not advertised very well, and it's self serve right next to the regular lemonade and green tea. t 26 @turntineforwhat enough time has passed to admit that I had to go to the ER after this.. alex @turntineforwhat 29 Dec 22 update this one is way better than the other one but I gotta be honest I'm on my second cup and my chest feel crazy NBC News Follow Panera Bread faces suit from family of student who died after drinking ... 2 days ago - An Ivy League student with a heart condition died after she drank Panera Bread's Charged Lemonade, a large cup of which contains more ... 118 ₁3.4K K : : (→ Heben Nigatu @hebennigatu Say what you want about Panera but what other restaurant is making up for the nationwide adderall shortage with a charged lemonade? 11:20 PM Nov 18, 2023 62.1K Views 4 100 1.4K 15

External References

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Top Comments


in reply to Mand'alor

They definitely didn't obscure that the drink was caffeinated, it's all over the menu and dispensers. What it looks like they DID obscure is HOW MUCH caffeine is in it. The menu says "as much caffeine as a cup of our dark roast coffee", while the dispensers say each one contains 260-389 mg of caffeine.

A cup of coffee (~12 to 16 oz.) contains somewhere between 60 and 100 mg. of caffeine. There's no goddamn way their standard cup of coffee has roughly 3 times that amount in it, and if it does that's absolutely fucking ridiculous. It's a straight up fabrication.

Just thinking about drinking almost 400 mg. of caffeine in an easily slurpable, sweetened ice drink form makes my heart palpitate and I DON'T have a condition.

A lot of people don't know how much caffeine is in a cup of coffee, so they would see "as much as a cup" and take it at face value. Any way you slice it it's irresponsible how they presented this drink.


Some poor girl died from drinking this "lemonade." She had a heart condition, and had no idea the drink contained caffeine because Panera willfully obscured that fact. Now, her family is suing the company.


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