We believe people deserve to drink real ingredients.
Did you ever wonder how a beverage flavored from actual raspberries could be perfectly clear? Or why those naturally flavored drinks seem to have a chemical aftertaste?
Everywhere we looked, labels were proudly trumpeting their use of “natural flavors”.
As tea experts, we knew that naturally flavored beverages didn’t look right. We knew they didn’t taste right. But our spidey sense wasn’t quite enough. But what was going on, and what were those flavors - exactly? We knew we had to educate ourselves.
So: we did a little digging and we're calling bulls**t.
Keep on reading to learn about what we’ve discovered.
Natural Flavors are made in a Lab.
“Natural Flavor” is defined by the FDA as deriving their flavor from "a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof, whose significant function in food is flavoring rather than nutritional."
What does that mean? Well, check out what people are saying:
"Flavor manufacturers do not have to disclose their ingredients. They can add synthetic solvents, preservatives, emulsifiers, carriers and other additives to a flavor that qualifies as natural under current regulations" - New York Times
To quote Business Insider, "‘Natural flavor’ is an umbrella term used to describe a chemical that was originally found in a naturally occurring source"
Organics.org points out some curious things that fit into "natural flavoring"
Raspberry or vanilla flavor is often made from the anal glands of beavers.
Boiled beetles are used in beverages to make that "pink" color
"At the end of the day…natural flavors are highly processed and contain a host of chemical additives. In fact, there could be as many as 100 chemicals in a single natural flavor.” (foodrevolution.org)
And you probably guessed it, but as the FDA says the function of "Natural Flavors" is flavor, not nutrition.