This afternoon I saw an advertisement for an energy drink that contains
- No Taurine (sounds okay to me) and
- Natural Caffeine.
Natural Caffeine. What is natural caffeine? Actually what is not-natural caffeine?
I did some research and it turns out that the term ‘natural caffeine’ is sometimes used to describe caffeine that has not been synthesised in a laboratory or chemical factory. Synthetic caffeine and caffeine from natural sources are chemically indistinguishable, so I am not sure why anyone would bother to make the distinction, but it does raise some interesting questions about the use of the word ‘natural’ in food and beverage marketing. This is becoming a hot topic in food labeling and regulatory circles, and one that is not going to go away. In fact, the USA FDA has embarked upon an ambitious project to define the term and provide guidance for food labels. We await the results with bated breath. In the meantime, I will stick to my favourite source of caffeine; natural, preservative-free black coffee.