Have you ever read an ingredients list and seen “evaporated cane juice” on the label? A California lawsuit is calling this ingredient into question.
Katie Kane brought a class action lawsuit against Chiobani yogurt, claiming that they use evaporated cane juice on their labels to disguise the sugar in their product. The case hasn’t been decided yet, but the outcome could set a precedent for how companies label this ingredient.
What is Evaporated Cane Juice?
Unlike crystalized sugar, evaporated cane juice is a liquid sweetener that still contains a small amount of the molasses that comes from cooking down sugar cane. Instead of refining it like white sugar – which often involves using bone char – evaporated cane just is what it says it is: the liquid remaining after evaporating most of the moisture from cane juice.
What I like about evaporated cane juice is that when companies use this instead of white sugar, you can be sure that you’re getting vegan sugar. Like I mentioned above, white sugar is often refined using bone char. Bone char also is what it says it is: it’s bone. Vegans don’t want any bones in our cupcakes.
Since sugar cane – unlike the sugar beets used to make a lot of the white sugar on the market – is not genetically modified, you can also assume that evaporated cane juice is not genetically modified.
Is Evaporated Cane Juice a Confusing Ingredient?
Honestly, until reading about this lawsuit over at The Salt, I had no idea that this term was confusing for anyone, but I guess I can see how it could be and how companies could use it as a way to make their ingredients seem healthier than they are.
For a company like Chiobani, they could be using evaporated cane juice because they want their products to be vegetarian (vegetarians don’t eat bone-processed sugar, either), or they could be using it to mislead consumers. The company defends its choice, of course, but it’s hard to guess what their real motivation is.
What do you guys think about evaporated cane juice? Do you think it’s a misleading ingredient or a handy way to tell if there’s bone in that cup of yogurt?
Image Credit: Sugar Cane photo via Shutterstock