The other night, I was reading Sam’s digital photography book and one of the recommended subjects for macro photography was the small print in miniature car models.
Well, I don’t have miniature car models to photograph but every item from the grocery has some small print at the back. Last night, I was drinking a bottle of C2 green tea and started assessing the probable distance between the camera lens and the smallest print on the label. The smallest print was the list of ingredients. Something caught my eye.
Among the listed ingredients was “natural color”. What the heck was that? I mean, isn’t natural color an inherent property of anything? Why should it be listed?
So, I read up. Below is a snippet from Beverage Industry:
As consumer interest in natural foods continues to increase, the demand for natural colors has as well. Natural colors have been around for many years, but recent technology has made them more stable and easily available. Fruits and vegetables are the main source for natural colors, which are most often in pinks, magentas and red shades.[…]
Pauleau’s company, David Michael has a large range of natural colors that protect pigments from oxidative degradation and have better stability. The company also developed a range of natural reds that remain stable in ascorbic acid, a common ingredient in soft drinks, including Strawberry Red, Red Fruit and Cherry shades…
Oh, alright. So it means the natural color of something is extracted and used to artificially enhance the color of beverages. Ergo, the color of the liquid in my C2 green tea is, in fact, artificial because it was merely enhanced albeit with natural colorants. That’s quite a runaround to make people thing that something artificial is, in fact, natural.
The artificiality of it all is not even denied. From the same Beverage Industry article:
“Colors help beverages by making them more visually appealing and they help identify the appearance of the beverage with the flavor,” says Jason Armao, director of colors and special ingredients for Wild Flavors, Cincinnati. “In addition, colors can be used to stimulate a customer to purchase. For example, a beverage marketed toward children or teens may be brightly colored, while a beverage marketed toward adult women may be soft and natural in appearance.”
Whatever. Bottom line is simply this: When you see “natural color” among the ingredients of a beverage, it does not mean that the color of the liquid is the natural effect of the combined colors of its raw ingredients. It means that the natural color of a foreign object — not among the ingredients — was added to enhance the color of the liquid. Artificially, of course.
UPDATE @ 9.26 p.m.
You might want to read a related blog entry in The Sassy Lawyer’s Journal.