Although many products portray the blue raspberry as having a vibrant shade of blue, the actual fruit is not nearly as bright. Some levels of blue-black pigmentation are a far cry from blue raspberries vibrant shade, though, and the evidence is mixed about whether the whitebark raspberry actually served as the direct inspiration for the blue raspberry flavors we are familiar with today. In other words, the blue raspberry flavor is almost always artificially and mimicked, just like blue raspberry flavors mimic the blue coloring. If you purchase blue raspberry-flavored food, you might expect tartness or acidity, the flavor of raspberries, and with blue being associated with candies, acidity is added to the flavor profile.
Any blue raspberry food product that you might find, even ones that are naturally-flavored, is not going to taste like real raspberries. When food manufacturers put blue raspberry in front, they want you to believe the taste will be a stronger version of its already-tart flavor. Or, should we say, something that we have grown to accept as an artificial flavouring to replace the tartness of the raspberry.
According to Flavor and Extract Manufacturers Association of America Executive Director, Jerry Bowman, blue raspberry flavor is actually created using mostly pineapple, cherry, and banana esters. Blue raspberry is flavoured using the same pineapple, banana, and cherry esters that are used in more common red varieties, but there is no beating a blue. Purple raspberry has a distinctive cone-shaped raspberry and similar raspberry flavors, but is sweeter than the red variety because of its higher sugar content.
|Soda Syrups||29-42 g|
|Hard Candies||63 g|
|Blue Raspberries||18 g|
The blue colour is used to distinguish raspberries-flavored foods from cherries, watermelon, and strawberry-flavored foods, which are all red. It is usually combined with a blue food color that helps to distinguish the raspberry-flavored foods and beverages from cherry-flavored foods and beverages. Soda syrups and hard candies with cherry, strawberry, and cinnamon flavors are colored with the same rose coloring agent, while fragrant raspberries get their deep, carmine-like coloring from a red food dye, FD&C Red No.
Manufacturers sought to differentiate raspberry from the other three shades of red by using a deeper, wine-colored red hue, which came from a dye called amaranth, or FD & C Red No. We already had plenty of flavors associated with red (cherry, strawberries, watermelon, bats blood), so the candymakers gimmickyly chose another, arbitrary color for the raspberry in order to differentiate it from the others. No, this is not really raspberry, since the berries behind the blue coloring are tarter in taste and texture, and are strongly associated with blackberries.
There is something called the Black Raspberry, which looks and tastes suspiciously like a blackberry. The fruits of the Whitebark Raspberry are initially a reddish-purple colour, later developing to dark purple and almost black, giving shades of blue. With other red fruits, like cherries and strawberries, growers needed a way to distinguish the whitebark raspberry from a cluster. You see, prior to blueberries, the candy market was filled primarily by products that tasted like red.
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Gold Medal, a family-owned Cincinnati-based company that made Italian-style ice pops with raspberries, realized in the 50s that the market was simply too crowded with red popsicles. Candy and ice pop makers began adding blue dyes to their products with whitebark raspberry flavors during the 1960s and 70s. Around that time, a frozen snack called Otter Pops began appearing on supermarket shelves, with a variety of flavors, including one–Louis-Blue Raspberry–that was similarly dyed Red No. The same year this blue treat was introduced, the ICEE Company was founded, in southern California, and it went on to base a business on its cherry-flavored frozen slushies, which were, unsurprisingly, brightly colored.
Meanwhile, popsicle companies such as Fla-Vor-Ice and Otter Pops were offering up an array of flavors such as cherry, strawberry, watermelon, and raspberry, but it was quite the monochromatic palette: Red, Red, Red, Red, Red, Red, Red. Cherry, strawberry, and even watermelon all comfortably secured the spot for Cherry on the lineup of reddish-colored or reddish-colored flavors, thanks to the addition of Allura Red AC (aka Red 40, introduced in 1971), leaving the sour Raspberry as an oddball. Common sense suggests that since the field of red flavors is already so overcrowded–cherry, strawberries, watermelon, cinnamon, cranberries, red apples–and in the wild, few blue foods exist, raspberries were just traded off of the red to blue teams in order to prevent confusion with consumers.
Someone, in good logic, thought to switch classic raspberry from being red to being blue in order to make it unique and appealing to consumers. As mentioned earlier, part of what helped the blue raspberry take off in the 1970s was that the blue stood out against the majority of the colors associated (manufactured) with other fruit-flavored treats of the era. In addition to its value as a flavor differencer, the success of this surprising color choice might have had something to do with color psychology.
As for its actual taste, there is a reason its flavor is not quite the same as the fruit that blue raspberry flavors are named for, says Susan Woods. If you are looking for the Blues Clues-esque, chemically enhanced-looking raspberry, you are not going to find the Blues Clues-esque one in the wild. Of course, the primary flavouring component of rasgullas candies and pastries, blue-colored or otherwise, is sugar, so, aside from its blue hue that stain your tongue, a blue raspberry ICEE tastes just as much like a cherry as it does like a cherry.
Blue Raspberry coloring/flavoring is commonly seen used in candies and snack foods, like blue raspberry licorice, gummy bears, lollipops, gum, hard candies, candy floss, and even blue raspberry popcorn. Brilliant blue FCF food coloring is manufactured to imitate the taste of Ruby Leucodermis, or popularly known as Whitebark Raspberries or Blackcap Raspberries. Raspberry flavour, in comparison, is a very simplified version of that, mostly coming from a combination of three flavoring chemicals called esters, most responsible for odors like banana, pineapple, and cherries.
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As this fun piece by Bon Appetit points out, it was only in the 1970s, when the likes of Otter Pops and ICEEs were created that the blue raspberry movement truly took off (the story also touches on a very interesting psychological effect of the color blue, and how that is related to taste perception).
What are blue raspberries made of?
The flavor and color of blue raspberries extracted from any raspberry species are not evident. According to one expert, the flavoring profile of raspberry was created by combining esters of the banana, cherry, and pineapple variety. Sugar is frequently added to the mixture to enhance the flavor of blue raspberry flavoring.
Are blue raspberries a fruit?
People see blue raspberries and assume that they are some kind of hybrid or genetically modified fruit. But the truth is, blue raspberries are a real fruit that grows naturally in the wild. So if you see blue raspberries at the store, you can rest assured that they are perfectly safe to eat.
Why does blue raspberry flavor exist?
If you’ve ever wondered why blue raspberry flavor exists, you’re not alone. After all, raspberries are red, so why is the flavor blue? The answer is simple. The blue raspberry flavor was created by food scientists in the 1960s as a way to distinguish between different flavors of raspberry. And while it’s not an actual flavor of raspberry, it has become a popular flavor in its own right.