A food company from South Dakota is now infusing roasted sunflower seeds with caffeine and other boosters commonly found in energy drinks, to provide players and other people the extra energy needed to help them stay awake.
The product, which has been under development since an year, are grown in North Dakota and Kansas and shipped to the company's (Dakota Valley Products) plant at Willow Lake where caffeine, taurine, lysine and ginseng are added.
The 3.5-ounce bags of the seeds branded as Sumseeds, sell for almost two dollars, nearly twice the price of normal sunflower seeds. The manufacturers are now working to get them into nationwide distribution.
Currently being sold only at a Sioux Falls drug store chain, Sumseeds would soon be available on shelves in Minneapolis and the Southeast. Also, the new seeds are currently being tested at a major convenience store chain in 10 of its stores.
So, who are the target consumers? Eighteen to 30-year-old male baseball/basketball players, says Dakota Valley Products. This group is touted to be the largest users for in-shell sunflower seeds. The seeds are also popular among truckers, who eat and chew them during long trips to help them stay active. It is also meant for those who engage in high energy activities like adventure sports, hunting and fishing. The company states that the caffeine content is equivalent to that of a typical soda drink.
Incidentally, sunflower seeds gained popularity in the baseball circuit in the 1990s when the minor leagues banned tobacco products from clubhouses. The newly infused seeds will be the official sunflower seed of the Sioux Falls Canaries, which begins its American Association season in early May.
According to the National Sunflower Association, sunflower seeds are power-packed with healthy fats, proteins, fiber, minerals, vitamin E, and phytochemicals - all important to the nutritional quality of a diet. They are also a good source of manganese, magnesium, selenium, zinc as well as phytosterols, which are believed to reduce levels of cholesterol.