My mom likes to read media reports and then blow them out of proportion. If she read this interview based on the book Squeezed: What you don’t know about Orange Juice, I think I’d be banned from drinking OJ ever again.
Although I might make that decision myself. If you knew that they put the same thing in “natural orange juice” that makes Orange Crush taste orange-y, would you hesitate to drink it?
It’s a heavily processed product. It’s heavily engineered as well. In the process of pasteurizing, juice is heated and stripped of oxygen, a process called deaeration, so it doesn’t oxidize. Then it’s put in huge storage tanks where it can be kept for upwards of a year. It gets stripped of flavor-providing chemicals, which are volatile. When it’s ready for packaging, companies such as Tropicana hire flavor companies such as Firmenich to engineer flavor packs to make it taste fresh. People think not-from-concentrate is a fresher product, but it also sits in storage for quite a long time.
I have this perception of Tropicana as being a health company producing an organic and natural product. Which you pay a premium for. It’s easy to forget that they’re owned by Pepsi, who is out to make money.
In the ’80s, Tropicana had a hold on ready-to-serve orange juice with full-strength juice. Then this new product, reconstituted orange juice, started appearing in supermarkets. Tropicana had to make decisions. Storing concentrate is much cheaper than full-strength juice. The phrase “not from concentrate” was to try to make consumers pay more for the product because it’s a more expensive product to manufacture. It didn’t have to do with the product being fresher; the product didn’t change, the name simply changed. Tropicana didn’t want to have to switch to concentrate technology.
You might as well drink