Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Non-Food Alert: The Fakest Caramel Sauce Ever

Several weeks ago I came across this in my grocery store. Warning: Snark alert. I am feeling pretty snarky while writing this. When I saw it, I actually laughed out loud! Save 10,000 calories a month?! For real? Sugar Free? Calorie free? If there was no sugar in this ‘caramel sauce’, what on earth was in this bottle? I think of calorie free things as being watery things like vinegar or powdery things like Splenda, not thick sauces like fake caramel. I mean…gross.

So what is in that bottle? If my crappy photo is too blurry for you to read or you merely don’t have the patience to read what is in my crappy photo, the ingredients are: triple filtered purified water, caramel flavoring, caramel color, natural flavors, vanilla, sucralose, food color, salt, potassium sorbate (to preserve freshness) and lactic acid.

Haha! Gross.

So what is all that stuff? I LOVE that the company lists the first ingredient as not just water but triple filtered purified water. As though somehow that meant that the water was somehow higher class than if they’d used just tap. Caramel flavors and natural flavors are just the same, they are extracts or essences of flavors. Check out the link, he explains it better. Vanilla we know. Sucralose we know to be the sweet fake sweetener that is included in Splenda. We know salt. Potassium Sorbate is a potassium salt that is used as a yeast and mold inhibitor in processed foods. And finally Lactic Acid is a curious additive. It is actually found in natural fermented milk products like cottage cheese and kefir and yogurt! But in processed foods this acid is used to inhibit sharpness and other flavor related issues.

But perhaps my favorite thing about this product is that it is manufactured by a company that produces DOZENS of calorie free chemical laced products. And they do it all with a business name of ‘Walden Farms’. If this isn’t non-food being marketed as food, I am not sure what is.


  1. My husband just asked me what I was laughing about, I love this post! He actually eats this kind of non-food crap, so I made him read this just now. He'll probably continue to buy fake food, but hopefully this post has planted a tiny seed of doubt about it.

  2. Have you seen this week's New Yorker profile of the PepsiCo CEO? A tiny glimpse into how much effort and expense is made to get "food" to taste like food.

  3. Great call out. I just found an old Pollan article talking about the deconstruction of food. This is a classic example. Very scary