What Exactly Are We Eating and Drinking While Traveling?

While traveling, we often grab what we can to either get our nourishment or to simply fill our stomachs to tide them over until we can get some real food to eat or real beverages to drink — but do we really know exactly what we are consuming?

What Exactly Are We Eating and Drinking While Traveling?

TownePlace Suites Chattanooga Near Hamilton Place

Photograph ©2020 by Brian Cohen.

I have been reading the ingredients list and nutrition facts of the food I eat when available and applicable — mostly because I am curious about what is in what I eat. Perhaps something is tasty enough that I may want to purchase it when I am back home from traveling — or maybe I want to avoid eating something in the future after eating it, as the food may not taste good to me; or the texture of the food may be off as two of many examples.

This article lists four examples of food and beverages which may not be what you might initially think — or be led to believe — they are once you read the list of ingredients or the nutrition facts.

1. “Blueberry Bash” Waffles?

The most recent example is when I stayed as a guest at the TownePlace Suites Chattanooga Near Hamilton Place, which was the first time I ever stayed at a TownePlace Suites by Marriott hotel property.

TownePlace Suites Chattanooga Near Hamilton Place

Photograph ©2020 by Brian Cohen.

Included with the options for breakfast — which were limited due to the current 2019 Novel Coronavirus pandemic — was a bag of four Pillsbury miniature blueberry bash waffles.

TownePlace Suites Chattanooga Near Hamilton Place

Photograph ©2020 by Brian Cohen.

I looked at the ingredients of the package of blueberry waffles and the directions on how to prepare it — and I already knew that the experience would not be like eating waffles which were freshly made on a waffle iron. Not even close.

Photographs ©2020 by Brian Cohen.

First, the instructions on the package directed that the product be prepared in either a conventional oven or a convection oven — with no instructions or recommendation on preparing it in a microwave oven, which was the only oven with which the room was equipped.

Second, I saw no sign of any blueberry in these so-called “waffles”. They should have been called elderberry watermelon huito waffles, as those are the juices used to flavor the waffles. Does that not sound more exotic than plain old blueberry waffles? And what is huito juice, anyway?!?

Finally, I bit into one. The texture was dry, spongy, and was reminiscent of stale cake. What a failure was using this package of “waffles” instead of guests enjoying the real thing.

2. Fruit Punch and Very Berry Juice?

Photograph ©2020 by Brian Cohen.

I like both berries and fruit punch — so when I one day earlier this year found a choice between Apple & Eve fruit punch and very berry juice, I decided to try them both. After all, they both contain 100 percent juice…

…but the taste of both juices seemed rather similar to me — so I decided to review the ingredients on both cartons…


Photograph ©2020 by Brian Cohen.

…and the first two ingredients of both juices were apple juice and pear juice — neither of which I would expect in a “very berry” juice, but which would probably be more appropriate in a fruit punch.

To be fair, the image on the front of the small carton of fruit punch does show a pear and apples; so that would be expected in this case — but not in a juice which is labeled “very berry” with 100 percent juice.

3. Sparkling Lemonade and Blackberry Lemonade

Although I do like to drink soda occasionally, I am typically not fond of sparkling water — flavored or otherwise…

Photograph ©2020 by Brian Cohen.

…so when I had the opportunity to try both Izze sparkling original lemonade and Izze sparkling blackberry lemonade earlier this year, they sounded intriguing enough for me to try, as I like both lemonade and blackberries — especially as a repetitive pattern of lemons adorn each can…

Photograph ©2020 by Brian Cohen.

…but they both tasted little like lemons or blackberries. In fact, I did not like the taste at all — so I looked at the list of ingredients…

Photograph ©2020 by Brian Cohen.

…and although sparkling water as the first ingredient was no surprise, both apple juice concentrate and grape juice concentrate were the next two ingredients for both cans of beverages — so even though they were both flavored juice beverage blends with natural flavors, they were more appropriately flavored juice beverage blands. Why not just call them sparkling apple grape lemonade and sparkling apple grape blackberry lemonade?

4. “Strawberry” Gel Snacks?

strawberry gelatin snack pack

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

I found a serving of Hunt’s Snack Pack Strawberry Gel Snacks back in 2015 — they cannot be called Jello because that is a brand name — and as you can see in the photograph above, the packaging proclaims to have “10 percent real Fruit Juice.”

Look closer and you will see that any evidence of a real strawberry is not found in — or anywhere near — the ingredients of this snack. Rather, the real fruit juices included are apple, pear, peach and pineapple — and the first ingredient is filtered water, followed by sugar as the second ingredient.

Perhaps adipic acid is the scientific name for strawberry juice? Is carob bean gum a new flavor by Wrigley’s?

Why not call the flavor of this snack fruit punch? I am sure there is not enough room on the label to call this Apple, Pear, Peach and Pineapple Hunt’s Snack Pack Gel Snacks — and I would consider eating a fruit snack named that, as it sounds good to me.

I have a novel idea: how about including real strawberry juice in this snack if it is going to be called strawberry? Are strawberries really that expensive that their juice cannot be used in this snack without losing money?

I have grown strawberry plants myself, and they are rather easy to grow. In fact — under the right conditions — they will multiply by themselves with offshoots or “runners” which produce more strawberry plants; and more strawberry plants usually means more strawberries.

That has been my experience, anyway…


I would not go so far as to call the food and beverage products shown as examples in this article as deceptive — but they can be a bit misleading.

This article is initially not the first of a series of similar articles here at The Gate — but if additional similar examples are found, they may be featured in a future article.

You are encouraged to submit photographs of your own for this feature at The Gate. When you do, please let me know if you want to have photography credit attributed to you — as well as what is the photograph; and when and where it was taken. If your photograph is selected, it will be featured as part of a future article here at The Gate.

All photographs ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

2 thoughts on “What Exactly Are We Eating and Drinking While Traveling?”

  1. Michael D says:

    If you had a real blueberry or strawberry mixed into those concoctions, would it have really make a difference?

  2. r m h says:

    great post.

    it’s amazing what people will put into their bodies without actually knowing what they are inputting.

    it’s also amazing as to what is “advertised” versus the actual ingredients.

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