The other day we picked up a new bottle of chewable multivitamins for the kids. It was a different brand than we’ve bought in the past, and it happened to be on half-price clearance, which is almost always a win in my books. While I’m not entirely convinced that these, or really, any vitamin pills, make a significant difference in the kids’ health, a few more vitamins and minerals are probably better than less. In the middle of winter, with the quality and availability of fresh fruit and vegetables being somewhat less than optimal, a little bit of nutritional supplement is a help.
When I opened the package, something caught my attention. It wasn’t the variety of different flavours, although this particular bottle has four instead of the three that the old brand featured. And it wasn’t the fun animal shapes — do you want a bear, a hippo, or a giraffe today? No, it was the fact that the aforementioned flavours — grape, orange, raspberry, and bubblegum, were all listed as natural flavours.
That’s right. Natural flavours. There’s no problem with natural grape, orange, or raspberry flavours, but natural bubblegum flavour? I checked the ingredients to be sure, and yes, it said natural bubblegum, grape, orange and raspberry flavours. There was no mistaking it, bubblegum was listed first. Granted, that might have been because it was in alphabetical order, but it clearly stated natural bubblegum flavour.
Now, you can go to the supermarket and get all manner of fruit, much as it exists in nature, or for that matter, at the right time of year I know I few spots where you can pick wild raspberries right off the canes, but if you can find bubble gum occurring in nature, especially with that distinctive flavour and sickly pink colour, I’d like to know about it. Oh, and pine gum does not count.
Bazooka Joe and Hubba Bubba are manufactured, they are not harvested. It would be a striking image, to be sure, all those underpaid temporary workers with their baskets plucking the individually wrapped pieces of Dubble Bubble from pastel-hued gum bushes, being sure to watch out for the thorns. That image, of course, is simply the product of my imagination. But it’s about as realistic as the idea of natural bubble gum flavour.