Blue Raspberry Is Real, Just Have Faith
It's candy week at Cracked. Prepare for a sugar high.
So here's a common explanation you might have heard already about blue raspberry candy: It's just regular raspberry, colored blue for marketing. We already have a lot of flavors associated with red (cherry, strawberry, watermelon, bat's blood), so the candyman deceptively chose a different arbitrary color for raspberry to distinguish it for the rest. After all, raspberries aren't really blue, any more than the lemons behind pink lemonade are really pink.
There's some truth to that, but there's also more to the story. First off, raspberries are blue. Not all raspberries, but that's the color of the blue raspberry, Rubus leucodermis, which is confusingly also known as both the whitebark raspberry and the blackcap raspberry.
Now, to make blue raspberry Twizzlers or Jolly Ranchers, do they grind up some fresh Rubus leucodermis? Uh, no. Or is the artificial blue raspberry color modeled off the specific blue shade of Rubus leucodermis? Also no. Or is the unique blue raspberry flavor based on the taste of Rubus leucodermis? Again, no. But we could ask equivalent questions about any candy flavor, from green apple to orange orange to all the red ones we already listed, and the answers would be "no" there too. So, you needn't consider blue raspberry more artificial than any other kind of candy.
We first got artificial blue raspberry around 1970, as a flavor for snow cones. The inventors wanted to step away from the expected color red because of growing fears surrounding Red Dye No. 2, the common artificial color in red candy.. This dye caused cancer, said people, even though the FDA had declared it safe 16 different times. The FDA responded to these crazy fears by ... looking closer at the dye and concluding, whoops, looks like it does cause cancer, and so they banned the use of Red No. 2 in the US from 1976 onward.
Of course, candy makers could have switched to a different red dye for raspberry, as they eventually did with all other red flavors, but distinctive colors really do help you forge a bond with the food you like. Here's a terrifying experiment you should try some time. Buy an opaque bottle of lemonade. Empty it, wash it thoroughly, and fill it with grape juice. Now drink the juice, right from the bottle, looking at the label. You might find, to your horror, that you think it tastes exactly like lemonade.
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For more colorful facts, check out:
Many Foods Aren't Naturally The Color We Think They Are
5 Horrifying Food Additives You've Probably Eaten Today
Colored Chips Can Control Your Eating
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