Next to the sport watches and sweat bands in your average running shop is a tiny new product packing an energy punch that’s already making the gotta-have lists of runners and cyclists alike. Unlike the dense chewy portable power bar, these lightweight little jelly beans deliver energy-boosting calories, electrolytes, potassium, sodium, carbohydrates and vitamins E and C in a tart little bite without the chocolate or granola. Whether running, cycling or whatever, they’re easy to carry and pop into the mouth.
They’re Sport Beans, and they’re the newest creation from the Jelly Belly Candy Co., owned by 1963 graduate Bill Kelley.
Kelley, who lives in Winnetka, Ill., says a bicycle racing team his company sponsors came up with the idea. They’d been using the sugary beans for quick energy during races and asked Kelley if he could put something more valuable into them.
“So we did,” Kelley says. “It’s designed for athletes, not for someone sitting on the couch. Our research indicated they help maintain hydration, so we’ve put them into a one-ounce bag, which is 100 calories so it’s a portion control mechanism. If you’re expending calories in a race and you eat two bags, you know you’re getting 200 calories.”
The beans come in lemon-lime and orange and are so tart you want to pucker.
“It’s a unique product,” he says. “We’re the first to offer non-liquid and non-chocolate. It basically is a candy, but they were already using them for energy. This is enhanced.”