Cran-Raspberry La Croix

Flavors and Pesticides Does anyone else think it's fascinating that essential oils can be flavors as well as pesticides? Some people find it alarming. This week, a law firm in Cook County, Illinois alleged that LaCroix was adding pesticide chemicals such as linalool to their products. They also allege that the "all natural" label on La Croix is fraudulent. This made for an eye-catching news headline in USA Today: "LaCroix faces lawsuit for allegedly including cockroach insecticide in its sparkling water"   I looked into the status of linalool with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). EPA is the federal agency that regulates pesticides and administers the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). The status of … [Read more...]

Too Good to be True

I lost my innocence at age 27. It was the day I realized what is on a food label may not really be what is in the food. Is it natural or artificial? When the analytical tests showed that the "natural" food flavor I was trying to copy was actually artificial, I was shocked. Now, I look back and think how unreasonable I was. People lie to make money, it exists in every market and food is no exception. When it's too good to be true, it's probably not true. The only way to know if a food flavor has artificial chemicals added is to run an assay on Gas Chromatography (GC), Mass Spectrometer (MS) or perhaps to do Carbon Isotope Testing.  Even then, a person skilled at cheating and lying can may still be able to hide the truth. Although, … [Read more...]

Fenugreek Extract and Maple Flavor FEMA #2486

Fenugreek seeds Until recently, I did not know Fenugreek seeds were one of the main ingredients in Indian spiced curry. My experience with Fenugreek was that it is brown sticky mass that smelled like maple. I knew Fenugreek not as a seed or a plant, but as a botanical extract. Extracts Extracts are concentrated natural products obtained by solvent extraction (i.e. ethyl alcohol or hexane extraction). The aroma and taste components that are extracted by the solvent are further concentrated by evaporating the solvent residue. Once the solvent is removed, a botanical extract is made by mixing the remnants with glycerine, caramel color and corn syrup. A flavor chemist can use either roasted or unroasted Fenugreek. Fenugreek extract is the … [Read more...]

Limited Edition Apple Crisp Flavored Yoplait yogurt, flavor review

The Sense of Smell We have a heightened sense of smell when we are hungry. Our sense of smell is what allows us to perceive flavor in our food; hence when we plug our noses and chew cinnamon raisin toast, all we taste is sweet, but when we unplug our nose we taste the cinnamon and raisin.     My Impression When I first tried the new limited edition Apple Crisp Yoplait yogurt, I was hungry. I could taste fresh apple pie with oatmeal/brown sugar crumble on top. This yogurt is delicious and very balanced. The second time I ate this yogurt, I did not catch-all the "nuances" that I did when I was hungry, but it is still just as delicious. The flavor in Apple Crisp Yoplait is amazing. I'm in awe of the flavor scientist that … [Read more...]

UNREAL41™ Candy Coated Chocolates, UNJUNKED™ Review

Candy is lively, bold and beautiful. Loaded with FD&C certified colors, it comes in bright hues of blue, orange, green, yellow, and red. Is it possible to have beautiful shades of candy without the FD&C colors?   Instead of using certifiable "man made" colors, Unreal™ uses "exempt from certification" natural spice and vegetable extract to color their candies. Unjunked™  touts: No artificials No hydrogenates No corn syrups No preservatives No GMOs The ingredients listed are: Milk Chocolate (chocolate, skim milk, cane sugar, cocoa butter, milk powder, organic blue agave inulin, soy lecithin, vanilla extract), cane sugar, calcium carbonate, colored with(beetroot juice, turmeric root extract, purple cabbage … [Read more...]

True Lemon® un-sweetend, lemonade and raspberry lemonade, flavor review

Finally! Summer is here in the Northwest. While most of the country had sweltering heat; the Northwest had cool, rainy weather. This weekend it warmed up so we got the barbeques out, enjoyed being outdoors and enjoyed refreshing beverages like lemonade. Perfect timing for the True Lemon beverage recommended by my Facebook fan and friend Mike: True Lemon® original lemonade, unsweetened lemon and raspberry lemonade. True lemon® unsweetened is refreshingly fresh and pulpy lemon like.  It is crisp, like water with lemon rings floating in it. This is not a sweet beverage, it's merely a splash of fresh tasting lemon for your water. The ingredients listed on the label are citric acid, lemon oil, lemon juice, organic evaporated cane juice, … [Read more...]

Starbucks Refreshers, Sparkling Energy Beverage with green coffee extract, flavor review

Starbucks RefreshersLike most moms, I survived the new baby/full-time work phase with lots of caffeine. Coffee is my beverage of choice for "energy". Energy drinks are popular and most flavor chemists have made flavors and energy blends for these beverages. In early 2000, I copied Red Bull (TM) flavor for a successful bar drink. My flavor memory of Red Bull (TM) was cherry cough syrup. It is shocking to find out that Red Bull and Vodka is served at bars (combination of upper and downer drugs), but maybe not so different than the Cola mixed drinks I had become accustomed to. Through my career, I've created other flavors for energy drinks: passionfruit, orange, and melon; then I moved on to confection flavors. On a recent trip to Target, … [Read more...]

Blue Diamond Natural Oven Roasted Almonds, Butter Toffee Flavor review

These natural butter toffee flavored roasted almonds are delicious and healthy. A great snack option for those of us with new year resolutions of eating better and losing weight. A great feature of these almonds is their handy serving size measurements on the side of the container. You can see how much you are eating or portion the servings out accordingly. Besides being able to judge serving size correctly, these almonds are deliciously sweet & satisfying without much sugar. Stevia is a sweetener in these almonds. Usually, I find stevia (a natural high potency sweetener) disagreeable with a bitter aftertaste. In these Blue Diamond butter toffee almonds, there are no off notes or a lingering bitter aftertaste. The sweetness level is … [Read more...]

Silk all natural soymilk, Mint Chocolate review

I'm a fan of Silk soymilk products. Silk's soymilk vanilla creamer is delicious and amazing in coffee.  Silk soymilk mint chocolate sounded like something my girls might like (since they love Westsoy's mint chocolate soymilk); so I gave it a try. I did not look at the ingredients or label closely and later realized that it was sweetened with Stevia. Stevia tends to be bitter and have a lingering aftertaste. I was hopeful that this product would taste good, since it was the Silk brand and it contained evaporated cane juice as well as Stevia.  Silk soymilk mint chocolate is pretty good as a cold beverage: creamy, sweet, nice mint flavor, low soy notes; but it is lacking in fullness & chocolate flavor. Unfortunately, my daughters don't … [Read more...]