Freezer pops — aka freeze pops — are synonymous with summer. But, as delicious as they are, they're really best-known for what happens to people right after they eat them — kids and adults alike are left with brightly colored stained tongues.
But the days of the bright blue mouth might officially be over. Otter Pops, a popular brand of freezer pops, has just released a new version that lacks artificial coloring agents.
Though they still come in different flavors, the pops all pretty much look exactly the same, which is now leaving a bad taste in the mouths of many lifelong ice pop fans.
The base of each pop is made with apple juice from concentrate (which is why they're all tan-ish), plus sugar, citric acid for flavor and a few preservatives.
Earlier this summer, the brand teased the new release on Instagram with a series of photos.
In June, Otter Pops made it official, announcing: "They're supposed to look like this, promise. Our 100% Fruit Juice Otter Pops have no artificial flavors or colors, but the same zippy taste you know and love. #ColorlessOtterPops."
Otter Pops isn't the first brand to ditch artificial dyes as health-conscious consumers seek out foods with fewer unpronounceable extras.
Kraft hopped on the train in 2016 and replaced the Yellow 5 and Yellow 6 dyes in its famous macaroni and cheese. Instead of the dyes, annatto seed and paprika extract give the dish its yellow hue.
In 2010, Frito-Lay made the decision to stop using over three dozen of artificial ingredients it had been using in its snacks for decades. To replace some chemical coloring agents, the company used beet juice, purple cabbage and carrots.
And, in an attempt to make its cereal more appealing to a variety of consumers, General Mills replaced the artificial coloring in all of its cereals in 2016. Instead of red, yellow and blue food dyes, the company used fruits and vegetables to dye different products.
This well-intentioned change spectacularly backfired as diehard fans of fruity Trix cereal lost their collective minds over the dull-looking replacement.
Only one year after the launch, General Mills decided to go back to offering its original version.
As the new Otter Pops began rolling out in stores nationwide (they're sold at Walmart, Costco, Safeway and more) traditionalists have stormed Twitter to vent about the loss of their beloved, tongue-staining pops.
Some people said they were disgusted by the yellow-brown color (imparted by the apple juice concentrate) of the pops.
Even though Otter Pops has claimed that the adjustment doesn't affect the treats' taste, many people still just want the artificially dyed dessert.
Some even said that they felt a sense betrayal.
Of course, not everyone was totally put off by the change. Some have even embraced it.
Learning from the mistakes of other companies, Otter Pops has since reassured customers that the original colorful pops will still be available right alongside the new ones in the future.
Food brands will continue to tweak old recipes to make products that will satiate a growing demand for more "natural" items, but there will always be plenty of people out there who just want the original version of their favorites — artificial dyes, sugar and all.