Pictures of blueberries are
prominently displayed on the front of many food packages.
they are on boxes of muffins, cereals and breads. But turn the
packages around, and suddenly the blueberries disappear. They're
gone, replaced in the ingredients list with sugars, oils and
artificial colors derived from petrochemicals.
This bag of blueberry bagels sold at
Target Stores is made with
blueberry bits. And while actual blueberries are found further
down the ingredients list, the blueberry bits themselves don't
even contain bits of blueberries. They're made entirely from
sugar, corn cereal, modified food starch, partially hydrogenated
vegetable oil, artificial flavor, cellulose gum, salt and
artificial colors like Blue #2, Red #40, Green #3 and Blue #1.
What's missing from that list? Well, blueberries.
Where did the blueberries go?
They certainly didn't end up in Total Blueberry Pomegranate
Cereal. This cereal, made by
General Mills, contains neither
blueberries nor pomegranates. They're nowhere to be found. But
the cereal is made with red #40, blue #2 and other artificial
colors. And it's even sweetened with sucralose, a chemical
sweetener. And that's in addition to the sugar, corn syrup and
brown sugar syrup that's already on the label.
A lot of products that imply they're made with blueberries
contain no blueberries at all. And many that do contain a tiny
amount of blueberries cut their recipes with artificial
blueberry ingredients to make it look like their products
contain more blueberries than they really do.
Kellogg's Blueberry Pop Tarts shows a picture of plump
blueberries right on the front of the box. But inside the box,
there's a lot more high fructose corn syrup than actual
blueberries. And the corn syrup is given a blueberry color with
the addition of - guess what? - red #40, blue #1 and blue #2
Kellogg's Frosted Mini Wheats also come in a Blueberry Muffin
variety, with fresh blueberries prominently featured on the
front of the package. But inside, there are no actual
blueberries to be found. Instead, you get "blueberry flavored
crunchlets" - yes, crunchlets - made from sugars, soybean oil,
red #40 and blue #2.
And, if you can believe it, the side panel of this box features
the "Frosted Mini Wheats Bite Size" logo, followed by the words
"blueberry muffin" with pictures of blueberries, finally
followed by "The Whole Truth." Except it really isn't the whole
truth at all. It's more like a half truth.
These marketing deceptions even continue on Kellogg's website,
where one page claims, "New Special K Blueberry Fruit Crisps are
filled with blueberries and drizzled with vanilla icing." Except
they aren't, really. What they're really filled with is apple
powder, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, fructose, sugar,
artificial colors red #40 and blue #1, all enhanced with a dash
of blueberry puree concentrate.
Even seemingly "healthy" blueberry products can be deceptive.
Betty Crocker's Fiber One Blueberry muffin mix enhances its
small amount of actual blueberries with petrochemical colors,
too: Red #40, Blue #1 and Blue #2.
Betty Crocker's Blueberry
Muffin Mix admits it contains
no real blueberries. Well, if you read the fine print, that is.
It's ingredients reveal "Artificial blueberry flavor bits" which
are made from dextrose, Corn Flour, Partially Hydrogenated
Soybean Oil, Sugar, Citric Acid, Artificial Flavor, and of
course the obligatory Blue #1 and Red #40.
When consumers buy blueberry cereals, muffins and mixes, they're
under the impression that they're buying real blueberries. No
ordinary consumer realizes they're actually buying blue coloring
chemicals mixed with hydrogenated oils and liquid sugars. That's
why this common industry practice of faking the blueberries is
Why can't food companies just be more honest about it? Nature's
Path Organic Optimum Blueberry-Cinnamon Breakfast Cereal
contains - get this - both blueberries and cinnamon.
Better yet, you won't find any red #40, blue #2 or
partially-hydrogenated vegetable oils in Nature's Path products.
They even use organic blueberries and organic cinnamon.
Health Valley Low-Fat Blueberry Tarts are also made with real
blueberries. You won't find any artificial coloring chemicals in
So why can't,
...use real blueberries in their products instead of
deceptively formulating them with artificial petrochemical
colors that mimic the purple color of blueberries?
It's probably because real blueberries are expensive. And
artificial blueberry bits, made with sugar, partially
hydrogenated oils and artificial colors, are dirt cheap.
these companies can fool consumers into thinking they're buying
real blueberries in their products, they can command a price
premium that translates into increased profits.
Once again, in the food industry, deception pays off. And it
So what can YOU do to make sure you don't get scammed by a food
company trying to sell you red #40 and Blue #2 as if they were
real blueberries? Read the ingredients. If you see artificial
colors on the list - and they're usually found at the very
bottom of the ingredients list - just don't buy that product.
Put it back on the shelf and choose something else that's not
And that's how you solve "the case of the