If La Croix excludes sweeteners and sodium from its recipe, how could it possibly achieve the winning flavors that invigorate both your taste buds and Instagram feed? Apparently, the answer is legibly penned on LC’s colorful cans—it’s the natural flavors or, more eloquently dubbed, “natural essence.”
Since no one knows exactly what that is, The Wall Street Journal did a little digging and reported that, “Essence is actually a clear, concentrated natural chemical that’s been used for decades in products as varied as gravy, ice pops, coffee, shampoo and even insecticide, according to industry executives and scientists.” Business Insider explains that essence is created when fruits and veggies are nuked at high temperatures and produce vapors, which are captured, condensed into barrels, and then often sold in fancy fizzy water cans.
Although La Croix neither confirmed nor denied this reasonable explanation, their website does offer a slightly more vague piece of information as to what lives in their cans: “The flavors are derived from the natural essence oils extracted from the named fruit used in each of our LaCroix flavors. There are no sugars or artificial ingredients contained in, nor added to, these extracted flavors.”
While “Natural Flavors” are added to most sparkling waters on the market, that’s not the only way you can sip on a fruit-flavored, sparkling beverage. Beverage-maker Spindrift actually uses real fruit juice, which lends its bev subtle sweetness for 15 calories or less per can. While La Croix and Spindrift are two tasty Drink This! options, you’re definitely going to want to crack open these 15 New Drinks That Make It Easy To Quit Soda, too.