Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Latest Marketing Gimmick: fruit drinks with 50% less sugar

The supermarkets have changed in the short time we were away in Europe.  Suddenly, the shelves are now filled with what looked like juice with 50% less sugar.  Hang on, I said to myself, how did they extract the sugar from the juice?  But how wonderful that they can, since I always mix my juice with an equal amount of water anyway, to soften its natural sweetness.

Same price, same brand.  Not obvious at all that one is a juice and one is a fruit drink.
Well, I discovered the answer on reading the label.  This new "juice" has 50% less sugar, because it is less than 50% juice.  That's right, what you are paying for is mostly water, mixed with juice and sweetener, a natural sweetener called stevia which is apparently all the rage these days.

Ingredients of the fruit flavoured drink with stevia.
And Just Juice isn't the only company doing this.  Charlie's also has a 50% less sugar range.  I wouldn't be surprised if all the other juice companies do the same.

I get it, it's a great way to make money if you can sell half the juice for the same price (okay, less than half the juice, plus some sweetener, colour, and flavour enhancer).  But why are people buying this stuff?  Isn't it just as easy and much more economical to simply mix some water with your juice?  Who wants it to be that sweet anyway?

Final rant: why are companies allowed to be named "Just Juice" and "Simply Squeezed", when their products are not what their name implies?


  1. It seems that in New Zealand, we call all juice resembling products "juice". In other countries, juice is the named reserved for pulpy, thick, freshly squeezed stuff straight from a juicer. The imitation stuff that we call "juice" is called fruit drink. I guess it is our own fault for allowing drink to be called juice. If we made the differentiation, then maybe we'd start buying smarter.

  2. The 50% less sugar product is technically a "fruit drink" in New Zealand too, as you can see from the text above the nutritional info. It's just confusing because:
    a) the company has "juice" in its name
    b) it doesn't say "fruit drink" at the front of the carton

    Or do you mean the stuff that is made from concentrate and added pulp shouldn't be called "juice"?

  3. A lot of what passes for juice these days have been clarified (removed all fibre, phytochemicals), pasteurised (removed vitamins, denatured enzymes), with natural flavours and Vitamin C added back in. Really, it's just flavoured sugar water.

  4. Oh, I didn't know that. Why do you think that is? Surely all the extra processing costs more money? I guess it makes the drinks last longer, but I wouldn't have thought it would hurt to leave fibre in as long as everything is pasteurised.


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