Blue Raspberry: Is It Supposed to Taste Like Actual Raspberries?

Yes, but not like common red raspberries, the kind you buy in clamshell packages in the fresh produce aisle. Blue raspberry was designed to mimic the flavor of whitebark raspberry, also known as blue raspberry, even though, color-wise, it looks more like a blackberry’s brother from another mother.

Blue raspberry was created when ice pop manufacturers of the 1970s had too many flavors that all needed the color red: cherry, strawberry, watermelon, raspberry. They decided to make them all different shades of red, but the color they’d settled on for raspberry—a deep red dye called amaranth—had a not-so-small problem: It was proved to cause cancer. The manufacturers scrapped amaranth for a dye called brilliant blue. Even though the color was closer to an electric blue, they decided to combine it with the flavor of whitebark raspberry, and boom: Blue raspberry was born, forever staining kids' tongues a bright, unnatural, I-just-made-out-with-a-Smurf blue.

Having never tasted real whitebark raspberry, I can’t say whether or not the flavor is spot-on. But if other artificially flavored foods like candy are any indication, it probably tastes as much like the real blue raspberry as cherry Skittles taste like fresh cherries, which is to say not at all.

Slushie photo by Flickr member Iain Fergus under Creative Commons

Leena Trivedi-Grenier is a Bay Area food writer and cooking teacher with an undying love for pot stickers. She earned her master's in gastronomy from Le Cordon Bleu. Besides CHOW, her writing appears on her blog Leena Eats and in various food-based encyclopedias.