So Just What The Hell Is In Froot Loops?

Kellogg's Froot Loops -- the sugary breakfast cereal fronted by avian mascot Toucan Sam -- recently caused an online stir when it was revealed that the multicoloured 'loops' are all the same flavour. We decided to investigate whether the Australian version was guilty of the same crime, which led to some interesting discoveries. Like paprika.

Reddit’s Today I Learned series recently unearthed an old article in which Kelogg's confirmed US Froot Loops are all the same flavour. This caused an uproar among American cereal fans who had long believed the iconic orange, red, purple, yellow, and lime green rings denoted more than just different food colouring.

"My childhood was a lie. I always thought the purple and yellow were the best, but apparently they're the same flavor now," one Redditor lamented.

"Those bastards LIED to me!!" stormed another.

One post even blamed Reddit for systematically destroying every fun aspect from their lives. Clearly, the taste of truth is no substitute for the nostalgic memories of breakfast cereal.

This got us wondering: could the same colour conspiracy be happening in Australia? I distinctly recall eating Froot Loops as a kid and hoarding all the red ones because they tasted better. Likewise, I would purposefully offload the yellow ones with their crappy lemon taste to my younger sister. Did Toucan Sam dupe my taste buds through the power of suggestion?

Here are the ingredients for Kellog's Froot Loops as the appear on the Australian website:

Froot Loops Ingredients (Australia):

Cereals (58%) (cornmeal, wheat flour, oatmeal), sugar, vegetable oil, salt, colours (paprika, carmine, turmeric, vegetable carbon, copper chlorophyll), dextrose, vitamins (vitamin C, niacin, riboflavin, thiamin, folate), minerals (iron, zinc oxide), natural flavours (orange, lemon, raspberry, cherry, lime).

And here's the US version. (Somewhat suspiciously, Kellogg's recently updated its US website to remove the Froot Loops ingredients list, but a cached version of the original can still be viewed online.)

Froot Loops Ingredients (US):

Sugar, corn flour blend (whole grain yellow corn flour, degerminated yellow corn flour), wheat flour, whole grain oat flour, oat fiber, soluble corn fiber, contains 2% or less of partially hydrogenated vegetable oil (coconut, soybean and/or cottonseed), salt, red 40, natural flavor, blue 2, turmeric color, yellow 6, annatto color, blue 1, BHT for freshness

As you can see, the ingredients in the local and US versions of Froot Loops bear almost no resemblance to one another. While we expected to see corn in the American product, the sheer number of other differences were quite surprising. Who would have thought the Aussie version used paprika for colouring, for example?

The addition of vitamins and natural flavours in the Australian version is probably due to our higher government-mandated food standards. The US version, meanwhile, can get away with more chemicals and additives. This Food Facts TV video that we stumbled upon seems to confirm it:

So there can be little doubt that Australian Froot Loops are healthier than their US equivalent: but are the loops the same flavour, or different? The presence of 'orange', 'lemon', 'raspberry', 'cherry' and 'lime' natural flavouring strongly suggests the latter.

To get a definitive answer, we contacted Kellogg's Australia and asked them to put the speculation to rest. Here's what the representative we spoke to said:

Australian Froot Loops use five different natural flavours, but these are actually all mixed together. The different colours all taste the same.

So there you have it; straight from the toucan's mouth.

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Comments

    ... How is this not obvious. And they aren't differently, one is just formatted to US standards, while the other to AU standards.

    Realistically, if you eat two, it is very obvious they are the same flavour... They even indicate in BOTH ingredients that your "interesting" ingredients are for colour.. which is incredibly common..

    Le sigh.

      Froot Loops are eaten by the spoonful -- it's only obvious if you eat cereal like a weirdo. :-P

        But you said yourself that you used to hoard all the red ones because "they tasted better". This means at some point you must've tasted the colours individually and not noticed that they tasted the same.

          That was twenty years ago. I'm going to go ahead and assume that they used to be different flavours and have since changed the recipe.

            Maybe when you were young the different colours just gave you the illusion that they were different flavours?

            Instead of making an assumption, you could instead read the referenced article:
            "The spokescharacter for the cereal isn't the only thing that's remained constant since the introduction of Froot Loops in 1963. The flavor has as well. And that's singular."

            Next time please do some real market research. We need to know that thorough fruitloop testing has been conducted and conclusions based on that, not based on misguided assumptions.

            Personally I am just glad to live in a world where we have finally achieved fruitloop equality once and for all. It's been a long fight guys but WE DID IT! #socialchange

        Well I must be a weirdo then. I eat them dry with no spoon, same with Nutri Grain and Frosties, although I haven't seen Frosties around for years, have they stopped making them?

          They still make Frosties, though only some supermarkets seem to stock them.

          I had a major craving for some last year and went searching, discovered that the Woolworths in Bondi Junction stocks them, while I couldn't find another Woolies or Coles in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney that did. They weren't even imported, seems they've just gone out of fashion and thus stopped being stocked.

          Last edited 24/01/14 2:56 pm

    I.. always thought the two ingredients were froot and loops. Just like BBQ sauce is equal parts BBQ (the grill part) and "sauce."

      First ze banana, and zen ze split!

        Word is, "split" might become a scarce resource, with tropical regions using up all the reserves of split. Like Helium, I don't want Split to become a scarce resource. I don't like bananas at all, but I do love splitting from somewhere when it's time to go..

    Australian Froot Loops use five different natural flavours, but these are actually all mixed together. The different colours all taste the same.

    But... why? If they go to the trouble of colouring them differently, why not make them all taste different as well?

    Also, are American ingredient reporting standards the same as in Australia, in that the order of the ingredients indicates the proportion (i.e., first item is highest amount, then second...etc)?
    In which case - the primary ingredient for US fruit loops is sugar, and not cereal?

    Last edited 23/01/14 3:56 pm

      Consistency. They want each spoonful to taste the same which wouldn't be possible if they didn't all taste the same. One mouthful might have more yellow, another more red.

      Last edited 23/01/14 4:09 pm

      Four kinds of flour, individually each portion is less than the sugar. However the four combined make up more than the sugar content.

      That is why the sugar comes first, In Australia they list the various flours as a single ingredient thus sugar is second.

      Last edited 23/01/14 4:11 pm

    Those ingredients look fairly similar to me, except that it appears more detail is given to different areas, and different names are used.

    See:
    Aus: Vegetable Oil
    US: contains 2% or less of partially hydrogenated vegetable oil

    Aus: colours (paprika, carmine, turmeric, vegetable carbon, copper chlorophyll)
    US: blue 2, turmeric color, yellow 6, annatto color, blue 1 (I didn't check all of these, but it seems that they're plant extracts)

    Aus: (cornmeal, wheat flour, oatmeal)
    US: corn flour blend (whole grain yellow corn flour, degerminated yellow corn flour), wheat flour, whole grain oat flour, oat fiber, soluble corn fiber

    Soooooo, Fr[oo]t Loops are the Captain Planet of cereal?

    By your flavours combined.....

    Last edited 23/01/14 4:33 pm

    This article actually makes me want to eat Froot Loops.

      Same here, I haven't had them in years!

        Bah - I'm heading down to Coles now and to grab a small box and I'm going to munch on them through the day. I'll keep that sugar high going all day long that way.

    The next thing you are going to tell me is that the different coloured M&Ms are the same flavour.

      Oh, but they ARE the same…

        They can't be the red ones always tasted better! :D kidding.

        But as a kid we made these arbitrary decisions and tricked ourselves into believing them.

          yeah…. as a kid….i totally don't do anything like that as a adult… :P

            I sort those little bastards like I'm the god-damn Rainman

    A bit of an eye opener
    i just assumed that fruit loops were ground down teletubbies

    There's so much wrong with this article that it's laughable.

    Gasp! You mean they don't actually contain any froot? I demand that Kellogs start making them with froot or I'll call the ACCC and complain about false advertising.

    ...And now I want Fruit loops.. Thanks Lifehacker.

    This article makes me glad I gave up cereal several years ago. Soooooo bad for you (albeit tasty)

    Froot Loops used to be my favourite cereal as a kid during my years in the US and Sydney. I recently had a craving for Froot Loops and bought some at the local Woolies but they tasted much more different than the ones I had in the US. For one, the colours aren't the same- I think the Australian one took out the good colours, and it doesn't really have the sugary goodness the US one/old Australian one had. It's a shame about that, now I stockpile Froot Loops whenever I come across the imported version.

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