Google Robin Red and it won't be long before you find a forum discussing the red stuff. Some forums talk constructively about strategies and tactics - how to use Robin Red and at what inclusion rate. Others, understandably, talk about what's in Robin Red.
Several threads later...there's usually someone who's brave enough to have a stab at the red stuff's contents. One or two (over the years) have managed to guess close, whilst others are (literally) miles away. We don't mind, though, generally, as Robin Red is one of those products anglers love to talk about. Even those that say "I don't use the stuff!" find themselves engaged in conversations about its ability to make bait great.
We think Ken Townley's already done a decent job of explaining the confusion between Robin Red and Ready-Mixed & Carophyll Red in this article: http://www.haiths.com/haiths-baits/robin-red-and-the-great-carophyll-red-myth/ however, to support Ken's efforts I asked David Haith to dust off the old recipe books to answer this question once and for all:
Did Robin Red ever contain Carophyll Red?
I followed David to a secret location where he stores Haith's recipe cards - it's a fascinating place; it has the feeling of a secret underground bunker. A war chest containing the great and the good mixes greeted me. "My Grandfather's original recipe cards are in this box," said David as he searched for the Robin Red recipe.
A short while later, David held the Robin Red recipe cards aloft and exclaimed that he'd found them. We flicked through decades of history, searching for the words Carophyll Red.
Did we find them?
No we didn't find it.
We found mention of Ready-Mixed with Carophyll Red (as per Ken's article) but the simple truth is that "Robin Red has never included Carophyll Red," explained David. "If it did include Carophyll Red in the 80s and 90s we would have advertised that it included Carophyll Red - that's what we did with Ready-Mixed with Carophyll Red. However, it's important to point out that Robin Red was an alternative to Ready-Mixed. Ready-Mixed and Carophyll Red offered novice bird-keepers an entry point to colour feeding. Robin Red was for champion bird breeders and bird-keeping experts, who wanted to make their own colour foods without feeding Carophyll Red."
Here's a photograph of the original Robin Red recipe...
Yes I know that would resolve this once and for all, but it's not going to happen. I of course know what's on the recipe card and I can tell you that Carophyll Red is not (and has never been) in Robin Red so anyone who's making fake Robin Red containing CR is wide of the mark. Likewise, anyone who claims Carophyll Red is the key attraction ingredient in Robin Red needs to go back to the drawing board.
The truth behind what's in (and what isn't in) Robin Red, though, is considerably more than anything that could ever be contained in a recipe book; Robin Red is blended in a unique order and sequence, that - dare I say it - is (almost) impossible to replicate. People can copy it of course. The world's full of fake goods - I saw fake pairs of "Beats" (headphones) for sale in Cyprus recently and they looked very convincing. On the way home, at the airport, I spoke to a child who'd bought a pair and they'd broken before he made it back to his hotel. All that glisters isn't gold...or red.
There is only one Robin Red and it's never contained Carophyll.
PS. Here's Ken's original article again: Robin Red® and The Great Carophyll Red™ Myth -http://www.haiths.com/haiths-baits/robin-red-and-the-great-carophyll-red-myth/