If you have ever eaten food or enjoy a drink that is raspberry flavor, there is a high probability that it was blue. This may seem strange considering that raspberries are a deep pink color. Therefore, you will probably have wondered why on Earth raspberry flavored food and drink are blue and it may have even crossed your mind to wonder if there is actually such a thing as a blue raspberry. The simple answer to the latter is that there is such a thing as a blue raspberry, although it is not actually blue, it is more of a purple color. There is a very simple explanation as to why raspberry flavored food and drink is often blue and the history of this color and flavor combination is rather interesting.
Plants and animals with a blue coloring are rare and this has made it difficult for scientists to find natural sources to create a blue color in food. For this reason, foods that were dyed blue were once a rarity. It was the ice pop that changed all that during the mid-20th century.
Cheap ice pops were extremely popular during the 1960s and 1970s and the simple ingredients for these treats were usually water, a little fruit juice, and corn syrup. Various flavors were available and many of these came from red fruits. Unfortunately, this caused a lot of confusion. Just some of the red flavors available were strawberry, raspberry, cherry, and watermelon. The natural colors of these fruits naturally lend them to having red foods created using these flavors.
The problem was that if you had these flavor variations in the same pack, it was difficult to tell the difference between them. The way that the ice pop makers overcame this problem was to create different shades of red and pink. Cherry and strawberry were made in different shades of red, while raspberry flavored ice pops were made in a dark wine red color and watermelon were made in a lighter shade of red that was almost pink.
The most widely used dye used to create these different shades of red was Amaranth as this was readily available and inexpensive. Unfortunately, it was discovered that this dye was responsible for severe reactions. This resulted in the use of Amaranth being banned by the FDA as it was deemed a possible carcinogen and, therefore, potentially dangerous for human consumption.
The ice pop makers, therefore, faced a problem but they found an interesting solution. They also had easy access to a blue dye and it was just sat around waiting to be used. The reason for this was that they did not have a flavor of ice pop to make with the blue dye. None of the flavors of ice pop they were making naturally leaned themselves to a blue coloring.
They decided that a way of overcoming both issues was to use it for the raspberry flavor and tie it in with the flavors of the Rubus luecodermis, or the Whitebark raspberry. This is also known as the blue raspberry, although it is not actually blue. It is closer to the color of a blackberry. The ice pop makers believed that they could create an association between the blue raspberry and the use of the blue dye known as FD & C Blue No. 1. This is the dye that is known to turn children’s mouths blue.
Although the color of the ice pops is nowhere near to the actual color of the Whitebark Raspberry, this blue is now officially recognized as being the color of raspberries. It is not only ice pops that are now in this color as there are many other foods that use this blue for their raspberry flavored variations of their food and drink. Just some examples include soft drinks, sodas, bubble gum, and sweets.
Now there are children across the globe whose favorite flavor of sweets and drink is raspberry and they know instantly which product to choose from its blue coloring. It is now such recognizable food coloring that people rarely even wonder what the background to using blue as a color for raspberry flavored items is and how it has now become such a recognizable color and flavor combination.