If you stop to take a good look at a LaCroix can before slurping it down, you'll notice the word "essence" above most flavors. What's actually in that "natural mango essenced" drink is not totally clear, and LaCroix is intent on keeping it that way.
After receiving vague answers from company spokespeople—actual quote: "Essence is FEELINGS and Sensory Effects!"—the Wall Street Journal did some digging to find out what that essence might be.
As LaCroix makes sure to state, it's not sugar, artificial ingredients, castoreum, or phosphoric acid. According to the company's website, the natural flavors "are derived from the natural essence oils extracted from the named fruit used in each of our LaCroix flavors," and none of the above are added to the extracted flavors.
A photo posted by on
That still leaves us with the question of what the heck "essence" actually is. It's not defined by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the WSJ reports, but as far as food labeling goes, it's allowed to be used when describing flavoring constituents derived from things like spices, fruits, vegetables, yeast, and herbs.
Essence is made by heating the rind or skin of fruit at a high temperature and capturing the vapors that are created. The resulting natural chemical is used in everything from coffee to ice pops to shampoo, industry executives told WSJ, and isn't unsafe.
For now, that definition will have to suffice, as LaCroix seems pretty intent on keeping its "picture word" a mystery. Given the obsession with seltzer, and specifically LaCroix's endless flavors, we doubt it'll keep anyone from drinking it anyway.
Stay In The Know
Marie Claire email subscribers get intel on fashion and beauty trends, hot-off-the-press celebrity news, and more. Sign up here.
Madison Flager is the Lifestyle Editor at Delish.com; she covers food news and trends, travel-worthy food experiences, and the products you need in your kitchen right now. She has a deep love of coffee and manchego cheese.
Kim Kardashian Carried a Crystalized Glass Slipper to a Lakers Game
She's a courtside Cinderella!
By Melony Forcier
The Red Carpet For 'The Color Purple' Was Back-to-Back Dazzling Looks
Have you seen Ciara?!
By Fleurine Tideman
Cartier's New Exhibit Takes You on a Journey Through Time
The show celebrates the luxury watch house's profound legacy in full.
By Emma Childs
Meet the Woman Blending the Traditional and the Modern in French Winemaking
How Florence Haynes combined the traditional and the contemporary for Gratien & Meyer Crémant de Loire.
The 9 Best Cold Brew Coffee Makers to Level Up With
And no, it's not the same as iced coffee.
By Siena Gagliano
The 8 Best Mug Warmers to Keep Your Coffee Warm
See ya later, lukewarm lattes.
By Danielle St. Pierre
5 Best Soda Streams for Convenient Carbonation
Upgrade your sparkling water game with a Soda Stream carbonator that'll fizz up drinks in a flash.
By Zarah A. Kavarana
5 Best Espresso Machines That’ll Make Barista-Approved Coffee
If your favorite kind of shot is an espresso, these machines will instantly jolt you out of bed for a dream-like brew that can be made right at home.
By Sanah Faroke
5 Best Rice Cookers That Make More Than Just Carbs
You won’t need to take these with a grain of salt.
By Sanah Faroke
7 Best Coffee Grinders of 2020, According to Kitchen Pros
The best blade, burr, and manual coffee grinders you can buy.
By Nicole Papantoniou, Good Housekeeping Institute
5 Best Air Fryers That'll Make More Than Fries
Yes, you do actually need an air fryer.
By Sienna Livermore