Summer Camp Food: Are There Bugs in Bug Juice?

Exactly what are you drinking when you enjoy “bug juice?”
What’s Bug Juice?
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Find out the interesting truth behind this summer camp favorite.

For some, the words “bug juice” evoke a myriad of memories. To one group, it was the unnaturally bright juice they guzzled down at camp. For others it is simply a brand named juice they had in their refrigerator.

And for some, it was a Disney Channel show that followed pre-adolescent teens on their journey through summer camp.

Here is what we know for certain: bug juice is a camp favorite that is a sugary, colorful fruit “juice” that is served in the dining hall. Some camps mashup different “juice flavors” to create an ultra bug juice, while some just water down Kool-aid to stretch the dollar of feeding droves of hungry kids every month.

But really, bug juice is more literal than you realize. Ever wonder how very “unnaturally” colored juices get their bright hue while they boast having “all-natural” ingredients? What they do is use the ground up exoskeletons of cochineal insects to create a dye for many popular foods and juices.

So while it may be true “that bug juice doesn’t come in a jar,” it certainly is less mysterious now as to what it actually is. 

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