[Updated, Jan 12]:
Local franchisee Clover Lifestyle which brought in Taiwanese bubble tea brand Tiger Sugar to Singapore has clarified that a new formula for the drinks had been implemented since July 2018.
Reports in Taiwanese media last year had alleged that caramel colouring was used in its popular Brown Sugar Boba Milk.
Clover Lifestyle's managing director, Trevor Fong, stressed that the brown sugar syrup currently used in Tiger Sugar's outlets in Singapore has undergone testing by the Agi-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA), and a report shown to AsiaOne found that it does not contain any "added colouring matter" nor heavy metal.
The brand currently has two stores in Singapore at Capitol Piazza and Chinatown Point, with a third outlet slated to open at Paragon today.
Tiger Sugar's famous drinks not made with pure brown sugar, says ex-employee in Taiwan
Tiger Sugar makes its well-known Brown Sugar Boba Milk with a "brown sugar concentrated syrup" and not pure brown sugar, according to an interview with an ex-employee on EBC News.
The company gets delivered buckets and buckets of brown sugar concentrated syrup, with one of its ingredients being caramel colouring, the former employee alleged.
"We get delivered five to six buckets a week and we'd get delivered more if we run out. The smell and taste of the brown sugar concentrated syrup is very different from the true flavour you get if you slow cook the brown sugar," she said.
"The one Tiger Sugar uses tastes slightly sour."
A representative of Tiger Sugar admitted that the brown sugar they use is not 100 per cent brown sugar.
“One of our ingredients is brown sugar. Our supplier adds the caramel colouring to it. We have followed the stipulation of listing all our ingredients and have passed all kinds of food testing -- it’s all legal."
While Tiger Sugar had always emphasised that their signature brown sugar is handmade, their rep revealed that it is actually factory-made "due to the large quantity that we have to produce".
"Our supplier cooks the brown sugar the traditional way, but they have also made some adjustments according to our requirements."
The brand, which hails from Taiwan, currently has two stores in Singapore at Capitol Piazza and Chinatown Point, with a third outlet slated to open at Paragon tomorrow (Jan 12).