LaCroix — the fizzy water trend that will not die — has inspired many a tribute. From cakes to full-on search parties, people are obsessed with the addictive flavors of the colorful canned and carbonated beverages. The marketing certainly appeals to the health food set, looking for an alternative to the typical sugar-laden soda. The can, after all, boasts that its contents is “naturally flavored” with “no artificial sweeteners” and no calories. But what exactly is “natural flavor?”
In this video, the folks at Wired dig into the government-issued definitions for natural flavors and how they’re processed. A lack of regulations means that companies like LaCroix aren’t required to reveal much about how their natural flavors are produced. Bonus: A dentist concedes that the carbonation in sparkling water won’t really do too much damage to your teeth.
Of course, natural flavorings aren’t only found in LaCroix. There’s an entire American flavor industry dedicated to designing and producing “flavor additives” such as the natural beef flavoring used in McDonald’s french fries. The folks at LaCroix, however, have adhered to more traditional tastes and left the invention of frankenflavors like pumpkin spice sparkling water up to internet fans.