Blue raspberry flavor

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Blue raspberry is the flavor of some modern artificial food products, such as candies and ice pops. However, to the disappointment of children everywhere, there has yet to be found any raspberry which is naturally colored bright blue. This is simply a term and flavor manufactured by the food industry.

History

This flavoring was first sold in ice pops in the middle of the twentieth century.[1] At this time, these freezer pops were becoming quite popular, but manufacturers has a cosmetic problem. Cherries, strawberries, raspberries, and watermelons are all colored red, yet each flavor of ice pop needed to have a different color. Most of this problem was dealt with using different shades of red. Cherry and strawberry products were given slightly different shades of red, with cherry being darker. Watermelon pops were generally given a much lighter shade which made them appear pink. Raspberry flavored products were given an exceptionally dark wine-red color.[2]
However, this was only a temporary solution, since the cheapest artificial coloring agent (Amaranth, aka E123 and FD&C Red No. 2) was found to cause severe reactions for some people, and may also be carcinogenic. It was finally banned by the Food and Drug Administration, and manufacturers has a coloring problem again. They realized that they had cheap blue food coloring available to them (FD&C Blue No. 1), but no use for it, and decided to be creative. They soon released "blue raspberry," which has been on the market ever since. Now that inexpensive artificial blueberry flavoring is available, blue raspberry may be somewhat less innovative than it once was, but it is still used by many manufacturers.[2]

Real life

The only similarity blue raspberry has to nature is the product of the Rubus Leucodermis plant. This black raspberry will sometimes have a bluish appearance before it is ripe. However, when it becomes ripe, it turns black. It is sometimes mistaken for a blackberry, but it is smaller (with a diameter of about 1-1.2 cm).[3]
However, is has been popularly accepted, and is not found in a variety of frozen and semi-frozen products, candy, chewing gum, health products,[4] and even popcorn.[5] While it is always possible that such a berry will actually be created through hybridizing or genetic modification, consumers should be aware that the pictures of bright blue raspberries on product packaging are currently no more realistic than the bright red cherries shown on jars of maraschino cherries.

References