Scientists lash out at claim Original Source shower gel is packed with ’40 real limes’ or ‘7,927 mint leaves’ – and say only ONE PER CENT of bottles contains any fruit
- Scientists have accused the makers of Original Source of misleading consumers
- The brand claims to pack 40 ‘real zingy limes’ inside every of its 250ml lime gels
- Experts accused them of relying on ‘questionable science’ and clever marketing
It is the hugely popular £1 shower gel that claims to have packed 40 ‘real zingy limes’ or an astonishing 7,927 tingling mint leaves inside every one of its 250ml bottles.
But scientists last night accused the makers of Original Source of misleading consumers, saying only one per cent of each bottle contains any fruit or plant product.
An estimated 5.5 million Britons used one of the UK brand’s shower gels last year.
One hugely popular £1 shower gel claims to have packed 40 ‘real zingy limes’ or an astonishing 7,927 tingling mint leaves inside every one of its 250ml bottles
Eye-catching packaging boasts that one of its gels contains ‘three mouth-watering oranges’ in every bottle, while the label on its lemon and tea tree version claims it is made with ’10 real zesty lemons’ hand-picked by farmers in Sicily.
However, some experts accused the brand of relying on ‘questionable science’ and clever marketing, when in reality it is using tiny drops of strong-smelling essential oils extracted from fruit and leaves.
Original Source’s website says its limes come from South America, adding: ‘We’ve packed 40 real limes and 100 per cent natural fragrance into every 250ml bottle.’
For its mint shower gel, the brand boasts: ‘We pack 7,927 tingling mint leaves and 100 per cent natural fragrance into every 250ml bottle so you can pack more into your day.’
Laurence Harwood, professor of organic chemistry at the University of Reading, said: ‘It’s all just advertising-speak. Saying there are 40 limes in every bottle gives the impression to the consumer that they have macerated them but, no, they have extracted the oil by boiling or pressing the peels which are a by-product from juice plants.’
He said the amount of essential oil extracted from the zest of 40 limes would be ‘minuscule’, adding: ‘We are talking a matter of milligrams.
Scientists accused the makers of Original Source of misleading consumers, saying only one per cent of each bottle contains any fruit or plant product
‘I’d say it would make up about one per cent of a bottle of Organic Source’s lime shower gel. What it ought to say on the bottle is “This product is made from the oil extracted from the zest of 40 limes”, but that doesn’t sound as good.’
Original Source told the MoS it uses the whole fruit to create the essential oils in its products. The firm said it keeps its costs low by buying its essential oil directly from a supplier who cold presses the limes. The pulp is sold to other industries and food production.
Speaking to wholesalers, the cheapest limes our reporters could find on the planet last week cost 9p each from Spain.
At that price, 40 limes would cost £3.60, more than three times the £1 cost of Original Source’s lime shower gel.
In small print on the back label, the Original Source lime bottle states it is made with ‘Citrus Aurantifolia (Lime) Oil, Citrus Sinensis (Orange) Peel Oil Expressed’.
The mint shower gel’s ingredients list said it contains ‘Mentha Arvensis (Peppermint) Leaf Oil’.
Cosmetic chemist Nausheen Qureshi said: ‘When they say there are ten lemons in a bottle, what they probably mean is there is one drop of oil.
Some experts accused the brand of relying on ‘questionable science’ and clever marketing, when in reality it is using drops of strong-smelling essential oils extracted from fruit
‘But you are not using ten lemons to make that oil, you are using the remnants of the skin of ten lemons that no one wants because it’s a by-product. To say there are ten lemons in every bottle is a huge over-exaggeration. It is questionable science. I think someone in the marketing department has had a lot of fun with this.’
A spokesman for Original Source denied the brand was being misleading and said: ‘The claims on the packaging relate to the amount of natural essential oil derived from the fruits that Original Source puts into each shower gel.
‘The Original Source Lime shower gel contains the essential oil of 40 limes which has been extracted.
The whole fruit is put into a hopper and ‘cold pressed’ – essentially squeezed, rolled and chopped to draw out the oils.
Knowing the average yield of essential oil per lime and the amount we need in every pack, we can calculate the number of limes required per pack.’