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FOOD What These Imitation Foods Are Actually Made Of

THE DAILY MEAL, Brian Boone, April 10, 2023 

In order to get as many people as possible to buy their products, food companies often employ labeling which is misleading. A high number of commonly purchased items are actually other, less attractive, cheaper, or lab-created foods in disguise.

Foods, particularly mass-produced, packaged, and widely distributed grocery store items and restaurant offerings, are rarely just one thing. Most of the things we all eat on a daily basis consist of a great number of ingredients that have been carefully selected, mixed, and assembled to make something palatable, delicious, nutritious, and familiar. But then there’s marketing, the umbrella concept by which all pre-made food is presented to the world. 

Marketing affects a product’s packaging and advertising, and in order to get as many people as possible to buy that can, box, or entree, food companies can and will be a little bit dodgy. Products are often not exactly what they seem, with the much-touted ingredients, place of origin, or the food itself not quite aligning with what the box or menu says that it is. A surprisingly high number of commonly purchased and consumed items are actually other, less attractive, cheaper, or lab-created foods in disguise. Here are some of the frequently faked foods — and what they really are.

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Blueberries are delightful little treats. Both growing wild and on farms, they’re not too sweet, they’re one of nature’s few naturally blue (or bluish foods), and a handful packs a nutritional wallop, offering high levels of healthy fiber and antioxidants, according to Healthline. They’re also a versatile ingredient, the star of stuff like blueberry waffles, blueberry scones, and blueberry muffins. But check the ingredients list on blueberry baking mixes and ready-to-eat blueberry treats, because it’s highly likely that the nature’s candies within aren’t really blueberries.

According to a report by the Consumer Wellness Center watchdog group (via the Los Angeles Times), the sweet, blue nuggets in cereal, bagels, muffins, and bread are usually made up of sugar, corn syrup, starch, oils, synthetic flavoring agents, and, to get the color right, red and blue food dyes. If the “blueberries” aren’t completely fake, then food makers sometimes use a scant amount of tiny dried blueberries combined with their convincing artificial counterparts.

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