Saturday, December 17, 2011

Flavour Enhanced Orange Juice ???

I absolutely love the taste of orange juice.

What I didn't know until earlier this morning is that unbeknownst to consumers, companies are adding flavour packs to their orange juice to beef up the taste of their product before bottling it and placing it on store shelves. Because the flavour packs come from oranges....whatever that means.....companies aren't required to inform anyone that they are adding things to their orange juice. Whatever the health and nutritional consequences (or lack thereof) are from adding or subtracting things from my food is almost irrelevant here. The real point is that my trust in this 'pure" product got violated because it was "enhanced" behind my back. At least the outfits that "enhance" their meat by adding flavoured sodium solution to it put it on the label so I can see it before I buy it.

Melissa and I have pretty well taken to buying items where we can pronounce all of the ingredients on the label. There are a few exceptions to this rule in our house, but not many. When we really started getting into this it was shocking to me just how many of the products we consume every day are somehow "enhanced".

Here's a hint. If you're going to do anything to the food I'm paying good money to buy, make sure I am clear about whatever you did by putting it on the label. This includes ANY adulteration, irradiation, pasturization, or ingredient addition/subtraction. If you or your company is worried about the repercussions of putting whatever it is you are doing on the label, well, maybe you ought not to be doing it in the first place.


Funder said...

Does it creep you out a little to think that you don't actually love the taste of juiced oranges - you love the taste of the industry-standard flavor profile for orange juice product? Industrial food is pretty disturbing.

Kristy said...

I read that article the other day and instead of flipping out or freaking out....I was like..."Oh, that's how they make orange juice taste the same year round."

Think about it - oranges aren't harvested year round. They are not shelf stable. Orange juice can be pasteurized and held for a very long time. Different varieties mature at different times, and they all have a different taste. But most consumers want their OJ to taste the same...year round. Year old orange juice can no way taste like week old orange juice.

It's my understanding that they use the peel and vaporized water from pasteurization to make the 'flavor packs' and that there aren't a bunch of artificial flavors, ingredients, etc. So - it is made with oranges. And that's what the label says..."Oranges."

So..would you like for your orange juice to say "with added peel"? Most consumers would not.

And I prefer the taste of juiced oranges. But I'm too lazy to juice my own.

The food industry has 'built' products at the behest and direction of customers. Now it's backfiring on them. The customers have changed. Smart companies recognize this and address the issue before it becomes blown up in the media...

Okay - I'll stop commenting on your blog now. This news story just got my feathers ruffled b/c they make it sound so much worse than what reality is.

Jason said...

When I ask myself how my customers would feel if I added a ground up bouillon cube to standardize the flavour of every pound of heavily advertised "straight from the farm to you" USDA inspected hamburger I sell out the front door here on my farm some would scream bloody murder and some frankly probably wouldn't care.

But here's the thing. I *DO* care. In my mind it would be misleading and ethically wrong to advetise one thing and do anything else with my beef no matter what the USDA or FDA says.

I feel the same way with orange juice. I don't have a problem with them selling their product but in my mind it ought to be labelled "flavour enhanced with orange concentrate" or whatever.

Kristy said...

Guess I'm one that wouldn't care. I make these assumptions - whatever is being put in food, any food, has been tested, proven to be safe, inspected, etc. I have to 'assume' it's safe - which may be a bad thing. I personally don't feel that most people's woes come from what's being put in their food as much as how much food they are putting in their mouth.

This is how much I don't care what it's made of....tonight, I had a sugar free brownie (sweetened with Splenda) topped with CALORIE FREE marshmallow dip and CALORIE FREE caramel sauce. So yep... I just ate a bunch of chemicals....and it tasted so flipping good!!! And my blood sugar won't spike, and I'll stay under my calorie count for the day!

I guess it's glad that you (and others) care. Maybe that keeps the industry more honest. ;)

RuckusButt said...

So is this the case with orange juice labeled "not from concentrate"? If so, I fully agree that the process needs to be better indicated via labeling because I buy not from concentrate exactly to avoid that type of thing. OJ from concentrate has always given my stomach a hard time. The OJ brands I buy do taste different throughout the year but they always taste like delicious orange juice.

If the flavour packs really do just use peel etc to create a concentrate I don't think it's necessarily a bad practice, so long as it really is just oranges that go into producing those flavour packs. Still, I want to know what I'm buying. The process can be just as important as the ingredients.

Deidre said...

I have to wonder if this is the reason I no longer enjoy orange juice. Lately every time I get oj I am disapointed in the slightly "off" flavor.