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Talenti Chocolate Coffee Chocolate Chip – company response on caffeine content and natural flavors query

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I had previously reviewed Talenti’s Chocolate Coffee Chocolate Chip ice cream, which maintains first place for my most loved ice cream. In that post I discussed sending an email to the company requesting more information about this product, and since I received a response from them I decided to write it up as a new post.  The original blog post is here for those interested.

I had requested two things from them: caffeine amount and detailed explanation of “natural flavors”. The former was because I had felt quite a ‘kick’ from eating this and wanted to determine whether that was from sugar, caffeine, or something else. I asked the latter from my uneasiness as to what I am actually eating. It’s apparently ‘natural’ but what is it really? Consumers who want to research more about the possible side effects and nutrition of this catch-all ingredient are at a loss.

First I’ll give an excerpt of the polite email I received from Talenti, followed by my comments on it.

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Thank you for the inquiry.  We do understand your concerns regarding “natural flavors’ in our ingredients.

Unfortunately, the natural flavor(s) in our ingredients are considered a trade secret and is proprietary information. I can tell you the consist of juice, juice concentrates, essences, essential oils, and extractives.
 
Also, the amount of caffeine in our product is less that 2 one hundredths of one percent.  Our Coffee Chocolate Chip gelato has 5 – 8% per serving.
 
I hope this helps and apologize for not being at liberty to share more information with you.
 
Please feel free to contact us if you have any further questions or concerns. We wish you all the best,
 
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According to the response, caffeine is only 5-8% per serving, which means only 5 to 8 milligrams per 102 gram serving. I typically eat half a pint (two servings) which translates to at most 16 mg of caffeine, far from enough to feel anything for anyone with a moderate caffeine tolerance. This leaves the cause of the buzz I was feeling to come from sugar or something else in the product.
Because of competitive reasons Talenti gave me practically no information on what is contained within “Natural Flavors”, only that it consists of “juice, juice concentrates” (which I am generally OK with), as well as “essences, essential oils, and extractives”. This latter group is still quite vague and could be practically anything. The only consolation we have is that since this ingredient is listed 10th on the label, we know there is no more than 10% of it present in the product (see here for a post on where I got this number from).
I don’t think it will do much good to push Talenti for more information at this stage, but I haven’t given up on exposing what is really in our foods.
Part of me wonders how much more can be discovered by doing a lab analysis of the product, but surely there is a high cost there so I’ll put that off until another time.
I really enjoy learning more about sweet treats directly from the producer, and hope to continue to provide this type of information in this blog.

Lakewood Organic Pure Blueberry Juice – Hardcore natural goodness

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Introduction

Our subject this time, a particularly pure and tasty form of blueberry juice, isn’t something normally attributed to the category of ‘sweets’.  Nonetheless, it is defined by a mild, natural, sweetness, which places it in the same league as sugary treats, if not only spiritually.

Another reason I’ve chosen to showcase this item is because it excels in both the nutritional and taste departments . As a purist who pursues simple, natural foods, this is about as close to ideal as you can get.

Flavor

I’ve went through stages in my life where I frequently drank one type of juice – apple, orange, tangerine, but the honeymoon always ends. Blueberry juice is the only one I really can’t get tired of.

Unlike many other popular juices, the sweetness of blueberry is understated, something like a softened version of grape juice. Filling the place of an overbearing sweetness is a complex, earthy taste, ripe with a diverse array of compounds, each replenishing much needed nutrition to the body. (Ok – I admit I’ve have my share of influence from the marketing material here).

This juice can be enjoyed at room temperature, which brings the intricate flavor to full volume, or can be served chilled for an extremely refreshing experience. After a bout of intensive exercise, I used to run for the Gatorade to quench my thirst, but have since discovered that this blueberry juice, straight from the fridge, satisfies my cravings fully.

Nutrition and Ingredients

This is the epitome of a natural, simple drink: fresh pressed, organic blueberry juice, no additives, no preservatives, and no water for reconstitution. And no extra sugar.

In one serving (240 mL, ¼ of a bottle) there is only 100 calories, 16 grams of sugar, and 4 grams of fiber. Contained within is 14 minerals, such as Vitamin C (20% per serving), Vitamin K (50%), and Manganese (40 %).

I won’t repeat all of the many health benefits of blueberry juice listed on the bottle, but suffice to say there are wide ranging effects from the immune system to the digestive system. I’m of the belief that nutritional science is in its infancy and there is still so much we have to learn, but even if only half of the reported effects are true, its totally worth drinking.

My eyes sometimes get painfully light-sensitive after too much starting at a computer or television screen, and this juice is the only thing that seems to consistently help when that happens. I did some research and it turns out that blueberry juice is supposed to be one of the best things for eye health. Sure, some of this is likely due to the placebo effect, but I can’t help taking advantage of it. In fact, I drank several glasses of this stuff while writing this report.

Price and Availability

Before I mention the high price of this product, I should mention that I don’t know of any juice of the same quality and purity. 99 times of 100 when you see a drink with the word ‘blueberry’ in the title, there is only a small fraction of pure blueberry juice used, and oftentimes apple juice will be used as a filler because it is sweet and expensive. I have seen a handful of products that serve essence of blueberry in a capsule, or a bottle of condensed blueberry, but those can’t come close taste wise (if they have any taste at all).

The only place I buy this is – yes you guessed it –  Whole Foods, where it sells for roughly $12. I had some difficulty finding it online but shoporganic.com seemed to be selling it for around $13.

For those than can appreciate the natural sweetness and believe in the numerous health benefits, this product is worth it, without a doubt.

Ratings

Flavor: 8.5

Nutrition/Ingredients: 10.0

Price: 4.0

Overall: 7.5

Summary

An extreme juice in many ways – super natural, super healthy, and super expensive. In the ever-expending juice world, it’s a true rarity you are likely to either love or hate.

Reference

http://www.lakewoodjuices.com/product_detail/id-30/

http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/benefits-blueberries-eyes-5356.html