Bad news for blueberry lovers. You know those teeny "blueberry" pieces dotting your favorite flavor of muffin, bagel, cereal, cereal bar or other breakfast treat? It turns out they may not have ever been actual berries in their sad, small lives. The ingredient list on some breakfast treats reveals that these "blueberries" are in fact just sugar, corn syrup and food coloring clumped into berry-sized bits.
A 2011 investigation by Natural News found many half-truths (or total lies) in blueberry snacks when they compared pictures of fresh berries from the package to what's actually inside. Later that year, General Mills was sued over allegedly deceiving consumers with Total Blueberry Pomegranate Cereal, but the case was soon dropped.
While some blueberries are just sugar and dye, others are real fruit mixed with other natural and artificial ingredients. They're half-berries -- or maybe not even half. Blueberry Pecan Kind bars, for example, are peppered with "blueberry pieces" that mix blueberries with other fruits, gelling agents and sugar, which is close-ish to the real thing. And a lot of other cereals, yogurts, muffins, bagels and other foods do contain dried blueberries or blueberry puree on the ingredient list. But if Hostess Mini Muffins can include real blueberries, at least according to the ingredients list, everything else has no excuse. Here are a few disappointing blueberry snacks to look out for.
1. Jiffy Blueberry Muffin Mix
We love your retro style, Jiffy, but there isn't any mention of a blueberry on your ingredients list.
2. Quaker Blueberries & Cream Instant Oatmeal
The "blueberry flavored fruit pieces" apparently contain a dash of blueberry concentrate after dried figs, corn syrup solids, starch, sugar and other ingredients.
3. Kellogg's Special K Blueberry Bars
You can see the blueberries in there, right? No, they're really just "blueberry-flavored fruit pieces" made up of sugar, cranberries, blueberry juice from concentrate, sunflower oil and, weirdly, grape juice "for color." We're pretty sure blueberries are also blueberry-colored, but let's not argue. At least there's a teeny tiny bit of the fruit the packaging promised.
4. Pillsbury Blueberry Biscuits and Muffins
Again, you'd do better to eat fresh blueberries on the side of plain Pillsbury biscuits, because these blueberries are sugar and food coloring.
5. Kellogg Mini Wheats Blueberry
According to the adorable Mini Wheat cartoon juggling ripe blueberries, the frosting on these is a delicious berry flavor. Except the ingredients list reveals not even fruit juice concentrate -- just sugars and food coloring.
6. Panera Blueberry Bagels
While Panera's blueberry muffins and blueberry scones contain actual berries, according to the ingredients list, the bagels are a different story. They contain "blueberry-flavored bits" made of sugar, flour, corn syrup and food coloring and, further on down the ingredients list, "infused blueberries." Presumably, these start as real berries, but become a Frankenstein-ish mashup of sugar, natural flavor and sunflower oil. Dunkin Donuts' blueberry bagels include the same weird blueberry-sugar bits.
7. Hungry Jack Blueberry Pancake Mix
These contain "artificial blueberry bits" made of sugars and coloring, despite clearly visible blueberries in the fresh pancakes on the package.
8. Yoplait Light Blueberry Pie
None of those delicious-looking blueberries on the package actually made it into the yogurt. Blueberry Pie flavor is just sugars and food coloring.
9. Brookside Dark Chocolate Acai & Blueberry
These things may be berry sized, but they're far from the real things. The center is composed of various fruit concentrates -- blueberry being one of several -- held together somehow with corn syrup and sugar. So while these may be tasty, they're not exactly the healthy chocolate-covered berries the packaging seems to promise.
10. Quaker Wild Blueberry Crisps
It's unclear what exactly makes these snack crisps "blueberry" flavored, because the package ingredients contain zero blueberry. (Not even juice.)
11. Krusteaz Blueberry Pancake Mix