When it comes to fast food, customers question everything. Be it freshness, advertised processes, or nutritional information, someone will have something to say about the frequently mass-produced food items.
In the past, chains like McDonald’s have defended against claims about popular items, like the production process of its chicken nuggets. Now, California-based burger joint In-N-Out is being questioned about its lemonade.
A pair of customers at In-N-Out are questioning the truth behind the pink lemonade sold by the burger chain after learning what may—or may not—be behind the beverage’s rosy hue.
In a video posted to TikTok by Niya Esperanza (@niyaesperanza), she and a friend posit that the color does not come from a natural flavoring addition, but simply an artificial color. They believe it’s just regular lemonade dyed pink.
“We feel deceived by In-N-Out because we’ve been wondering for a week and we refused to Google it—we were wondering what flavor pink it is,” she says in the video. “It’s not strawberry. We made our own homemade lemonade with just lemons, water, and sugar—there was a lot of pulp in that one, I don’t like pulp, but that’s so delicious.”
In the video, her friend suggests the color change could be a marketing ploy to sell more lemonade.
“We’ve been lied to, just lied to,” a man says in the video. “In-N-Out corporate makes their lemonade the pink color. They put dye in normal lemonade to sell more lemonade because people would rather buy pink lemonade than regular lemonade. Your brain thinks that you’re drinking something that’s different than regular lemonade but you’re not.”
He then references Reddit threads from workers who appear to confirm the allegations. One user on the r/InNOut subreddit said that their manager at the fast-food chain told them the lemonade is simply regular lemonade that is dyed pink. Several commenters who claimed to work at the restaurant agreed.
“It’s literally just dyed bc of food psychology,” another user wrote.
The Daily Dot has reached out to Esperanza and In-N-Out via email regarding the video.
In-N-Out added lite pink lemonade to its menu last year, advertising it as being made with stevia and monk fruit sweeteners, as opposed to the traditional method of using regular sugar like its regular pink lemonade. In its marketing at the time, the company did not specifically name its method of coloring the beverage, but the ingredient listing for these beverages is not available on the company’s website.
The man in Esperanza’s video suggests that she thinks the pink lemonade tastes different from regular lemonade due to the monk fruit and stevia sweeteners.
@niyaesperanza Doing the important detective work #innout #pinklemonade #conspiracy ♬ original sound – Niya Esperanza
Several viewers chimed in, with some stating that they are current and former employees of the chain, telling the poster what they have been told about the beverage by the company—and not everyone had the same information.
“As an employee we’re told it’s just pink,” one commenter wrote. “Not strawberry or raspberry just pink & just the lite pink lemonade has monk fruit.”
“My husband used to work for In-N-Out and it’s strawberry that is the flavor with the lemonade,” another commented.
“I used to work here!” a further user said. “It’s legit strawberry fruit base and water.”
Many viewers suggested it to be common knowledge that pink lemonade is simply regular lemonade with added coloring.
“I always thought pink lemonade was just dyed lemonade,” one user wrote. “Still my fave.”
“I’ve always known that pink lemonade is just a normal lemonade flavor,” another commenter said.
“I feel like I always just assumed it was regular lemonade,” a third commented.