Why Does Ovaltine Have Artifical Yellow, Red & Blue Colorings? [Inside the Label]

We’ve been blogging recently about chocolate milk.  One of our readers commented with a question about Ovaltine as an option to sweeten milk .

Ovaltine is a milk flavoring invented in Switzerland more than a hundred years ago. The original formula contained eggs, malt, and a bit of cocoa. It then reached the UK and eventually the US, with each country using a different formula adapted to national preferences.

In the US today, Ovaltine is sold in 2 flavors – Malt and Rich Chocolate. Ovaltine is owned by Nestle (makers of Nesquik) and we checked their website for product info.

Here is our analysis.

What you need to know:

Here is Ovaltine’s ingredient list:

Sugar, Alkalized Cocoa, Whey (from Milk), and 1.5% or Less of: Salt, Carrageenan, Mono- and Diglycerides, Artificial Vanilla Flavor, Yellow 6, Red 40, Blue 1. Vitamins and Minerals: Magnesium Oxide, Dicalcium Phosphate, Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid), Vitamin E Acetate, High Chromium Yeast, Ferrous Orthophosphate (Iron), Biotin, Zinc Sulfate, Niacinamide, Vitamin A Palmitate, Copper Gluconate, Vitamin B5 (Calcium Pantothenate), Vitamin B1 (Thiamin Hydrochloride), Vitamin B12, Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine Hydrochloride).

Similar to Nesquik, the first ingredients are sugar and cocoa. Whey is the liquid left over from the process of turning milk to cheese. The water is then evaporated and a powder is left over. The mono and di-glycerides act as an emulsifier to keep all the elements of the powder mixed together. Artificial vanilla flavor is much cheaper than real vanilla, and who knows what’s in it and how it is created.

Then a triumvirate of artificial colors that have been show to cause hyperactivity and other issues in kids. Just lovely. Perhaps this is where the “rich” chocolaty color comes from…

The rest is a long list of added minerals and vitamins that are so much better when begotten from real foods, such as fruits and vegetables, instead of a powder added to milk in the morning.

A serving is defined as 4 tablespoons, and contains 18 grams of sugar. That’s three and a half teaspoons. Thankfully you can choose to use only 1 tablespoon or two instead.

What to do at the supermarket:

Ovaltine loses our vote of confidence due to its artificial colors. Nesquik doesn’t have any. Purists can buy pure cacao powder and mix in some sugar. But it does involve an extra 30 seconds of work.

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  • http://www.betterschoolfood.org Dr Susan Rubin

    According to my food continuum, this sort of product would fall under HAZARDOUS category

    The long list of vitamins and minerals…..where do they come from? Are they petroleum derivatives?

    Chocolate milk can be so darn easier than this. And less hazardous too.

  • Vlad

    How about http://www.nutellausa.com/ ? Can you please write something about it?

  • Food Scientist

    Whey, the dried powder, is high in protein–whey protein–which is what bodybuilders are so fond of. Artificial vanilla is called vanillin, and ou can use google to find out what it is. These are the only artificial colors linked to hyperactivity: The additives tested in the British study were tartrazine, a synthetic yellow (yellow #5); sunset yellow, (Yellow 6) a similar dye; and carmoisine and cochineal red, two red coloring agents banned in the U.S. The preservative investigated was the common additive sodium benzoate. So the only one that “might” contribute is the yellow #6, but we don’t know because nothing was ever tested separately. Somehow high chromium yeast doesn’t sound like a petroleum product.

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    liquid zinc

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  • Matthewjanes73

    Just bought “NEW Improved Recipe” Ovaltine – NO artificial colors (now colored with beet juice and caramel color), NATURAL vanilla flavor!  Kudos to Nestle for getting rid of the unnecessary artificial ingredients!  Woo!

    • Mabel

       caramel color is not a natural flavoring!! It’s a CARCINOGEN…keep away, it causes CANCER!!!  please research ‘caramel coloring’ additive

      • Margaret Fuller

        Just about everything is a carcinogen. We all have cancer agents all around us, but if we have healthy immune systems, they usually take care of them. If you’re trying to limit your life to reduce all your risks (which is commendable), you’re going to have to live in a cave and will probably starve to death or die from loneliness.

    • Happy

      sugar beets are now genetically modified, so I’d be wary of this ingredient also

      • Margaret Fuller

        About the only thing left that’s natural and healthy is me!

  • Michelle

    I think this info needs to be updated. I’m looking at the label on Ovaltine right now and it doesn’t list any artificial food colors, only beet juice and caramel colors.

  • judy atchley

    my son is 13years old and being tested for diabetes. would ovaltine be suitable for him to drink?

    • Margaret Fuller

      What were the results? Ovaltine is a great “snack” and ads a few nutrients to milk, however, it does have sugar. As long as he doesn’t over-indulge, it should be fine-and CERTAINLY better than chocolate cows’ milk with all the lactose, HGH, pus, antibiotics, etc!

  • Margaret Fuller

    Actually, “NATURAL vanilla flavor” is still a chemical-FAR from natural (unfortunately). I drink Ovaltine from time to time, not for nutrition (although it has more than most chocolate drink mixes), but for the memories. Captain Midnight lives forever! (I’m disappointed Nestle has chosen not to resurrect the connection with millions of us “boomers” reconnecting to our childhood. Terrible decision in my opinion. They could make millions off t-shirts and SQ emblems. The ones you can find are asking a mighty premium!