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.