RE: so outraged! ingredient in cereal bar
Posted Friday, January 17, 2014 at 8:25 AM
People expect strawberry flavored items to be vivid pink - real strawberry is pretty pale (compare the color of a homemade strawberry smoothie to the color of the strawberry syrups and such - more pink than red). Add in that there's likely very little actual strawberry and a bit of flavoring (which is generally pretty colorless, like extracts). Plus, using real fruit makes things more expensive and harder to preserve on the shelf. So, how to make it pink? Well, they could use artificial colorings but people yelled about that. The alternative, which has been used for a long, long time in things from foods to cosmetics, is to use carmine - a red dye that is 'all natural' because it's made from ground up bugs, not lab chemicals. A third alternative, that really is a natural safe red, is using something like beet juice - but that's not as bright, cheap or flavorless (though it doesn't really taste all that 'beety' when used as a coloring).
Good for you that you're learning to check labels. That's when it starts to sink in that it really is worth the time to buy ingredients and make things yourself. Making granola type bars from scratch is pretty easy, relatively inexpensive (unless you use really expensive add-ins or something), taste wonderful and really don't take all that much time - a dozen or so bars (one batch) takes maybe an hour give or take (depending on the recipe and all). Do a bit of a price comparison - take the box of fiber bars, check the price, divide by the number of bars to get a per piece cost. Then find a recipe that looks tasty to you. Calculate up the cost. Odds are very good that it will cost much less per bar in cash out of pocket.