After seeing the poster montage for Nesquik chocolate syrup on the street (yesterday’s video post), I was curious about the product’s ingredients. I went to a local supermarket and found a bottle.
I was not surprised by the sugar and cocoa, and a couple chemistry lab remnants (tricalcium phosphate and potassium sorbate) caused me no shock. However, I was a little intrigued by the presence of the petroleum-based artificial colorants red 40, blue 1 and yellow 6.
Still standing in Aisle 3, I called Nesquik’s toll-free number, which was printed on the bottle. Alicia was the lucky winner of my call. As is usually the case with my calls to the big food companies, it seemed like the customer service representative and I were speaking different languages.
ME: Why is there red 40, blue 1 and yellow 6 in your chocolate syrup?
ALICIA: I don’t know the science behind it.
ME: Forget the science; isn’t chocolate syrup supposed to be the color of chocolate? Why the other colors?
ALICIA: The other colors help make it darker.
ME: I don’t understand. What’s wrong with just the color of chocolate? It is chocolate syrup, isn’t it?
ALICIA: Honestly, it’s a marketing decision. Consumers like the darker color better and the colors help make it darker.
ME: Huh? Again, what’s wrong with just the color of chocolate?
ALICIA: I’ve melted chocolate before, and it just doesn’t get that darker color.
I was about to mention something about dark chocolate, but I cut myself short, realizing that would have made the conversation even more Sisyphean than it already was.