June 24, 2014

Orange Juice: Which One will You Choose for Your Kids?

I always wonder what's best for my kids. Being a dentist and a foodie and a father, I have become more alert to what's good and what's not for my kids health, weight and well being... Don't think that choosing the finest product out there is the easiest of tasks. A series of extensive investigation is processed... Today am looking for the best orange juice brand to give your kids... looking for a brand that has the less amount of sugar, less preservatives, more natural and so on... Yes, I am aware that the best kind is the one squeezed at home, but sometimes we just have to grab a box, which one will it be?  Orange_Juice_Lebanon19
The question is simple: "Which One will you choose for Your Kids", is a series I hope to develop on a monthly basis - today we're starting with packaged orange juice.
Lebanon is a country based on trends, if one brand becomes popular, others brands producing the same products flow and flood the market, leaving the consumer confused. After the potato chips craze a few years back, then followed by liquid milk cartons and now orange (and other juices). How will the consumer choose, depending on the size price, shape of the box, the packaging ... My kids, who love orange juice, ask for it on a daily basis, so which one is the best? I went to the supermarket to find the answer. A good orange juice is not the cheapest and not the one with the labelled with the most popular brand or is behind a strong advertising campaign. The best is the most natural one, without any preservatives and no added sugar... to avoid teeth decay, weight gain and other health related issues. Before we start let's clarify an important point:
  • This comparison has been made on carton individual packs for kids
  • Yes, the best is to squeeze your own orange at home on a daily basis
  • Or maybe choose one of the fresh series displayed in the supermarket fridge like Balkis. But this one only lasts for 3 days and sometimes you're not in a situation where you can rush down to the store to grab some.
  • 100% fresh juice large packs are many of which: Candia, Balkis, Ceres, Tropicana
  • We need to get some of the packaged juices to satisfy instant cravings, and we all know when a kid wants something, he/she wants it and wants it now... and they are suitable to pack in their school bags, long trip and so on...
Maccaw juice ingredients The selection found on our shelves:
Maccaw, Uno, Libby's, Candia, Tropicana, Pampa, Mister Juice, Bonjus, Welch's The content of each:
  • Maccaw, 100% orange juice: 100% orange juice from concentrate, antioxidant (L-Ascorbic acid)
  • Pampa, Orange nectar 30%: Water, Sugar, orange juice concentrate, acidity regulator (citric acid), stabilizer (Carboxymethyl cellulose), antioxidant (L-Ascorbic acid), naturally identical orange flavors, natural food color
  • Pampa Toon 10% juice concentrate: Water, Sugar, Orange juice concentrate 10%, acidity regulator (citric acid), stabilizer (carboxymethyl cellulose, antioxidant (ascorbic acid), natural identical orange flavor, natural food color (beta carotene), no preservatives and no artificial coloring.
  • Libby’s 50% juice content: Water, Orange, juice concentrate, sugar, citrus pectin, citric acid, natural orange flavor, vitamin C (ascorbic acid), Pro vitamin A (beta carotene)
  • Candia: Water, orange and carrot concentrate, sugar, citric acid, natural aromas
  • Tropicana 100% pure orange juice from concentrate, Vitamin C
  • Mister Juice: Water, sugar, citric acid, orange flavoring, glycerin, arabic gum, gum xanthane, carotene
  • Uno 15% juice content: Water, sugar, orange concentrate, carboxymethylcellulose, gimme xanthane, ascorbic acid, beta carotene, orange flavor
  • Welch’s: Filetered water, high fructose corn syrup, orange and pineapple juice concentrate, citric acid, gum acacia, ester gum, sodium citrate, natural flavors, ascorbic acid, beta carotene, yellow 5 coloring.
  • Bonjus: Orange flavored drink: water, sugar, citric acid, orange flavor, carboxylmethylcellulose, pectin, vitamin c, preservatives (potassium sorbate, sodium benzoate, coloring.
Orange juice ingredients 2
Taking the natural juice content into consideration:
  1. Tropicana and Maccaw 100%
  2. Libby's 50%
  3. Pampa 30%
  4. Uno 15%
  5. Pampa Toon 10%
  6. Candia (not mentioned)
  7. Welch's (not mentioned)
  8. Mister Juice (none)
  9. Bonjus (none)
Juice with the least preservatives and chemical products:
  1. Tropicana
  2. Candia and Maccaw
Some Notes:
  • Both Tropicana and Mister Juice are produced by Pepsi. Master Juice being the cheap and commerce version to avoid
  • Mister Juice doesn’t mention the concentration of orange and is the only that has Arabic writing alone on it. What would a foreigner do? French and English educated persons don’t have the right to read what they are drinking?
  • Tropicana and Maccaw have both the highest concentration of orange. Libby’s comes next with a 50% concentration
  • Pampa Toon, a kids drink has the lowest concentrate of orange 10%, all the rest of the ingredients and flavoring
  • Tropicana doesn’t go into the details of its ingredients. These  details cannot be found over the net or on the bottle
  • Mister Juice includes bizarre ingredients which I personally would avoid, like gum! Why? What for?
  • Candia's 1liter boxes are 100% pure orange. It's only the kid's pack that's altered to be more accepted by the little ones
  • Avoid Welch's which is filled with high fructose levels and colorants
Some consider all as being "not good for kids" but if you want to choose just one...
  • Fruit juice: Fruit juice is prepared by mechanically squeezing fruit or vegetable flesh without the application of heat or solvents. After mechanically squeezing the fruit, the finished product is either packed in aseptic 250kg drums and shipped or, if the juice is From Concentrate, the water is extracted from the pressed fruit, packed in drums and shipped. When the juice is transferred to the consumer packaging, the initial water extracted during the concentration process is reintroduced into the concentrated fruit juice. The lost aromas are also reintroduced. Both products contain 100% fruit juice, so nothing is added to the product.
  • Fruit nectars and fruit drinks: In addition to juice, we can differentiate fruit nectars and fruit drinks. Both products contain a lower fruit percentage compared to juice. Nectar contains an average of 25% to 50% fruit juice and, depending on the flavor, the fruit drinks have an even lower fruit juice content. Both products contain additives, such as sugars/sweeteners and added aromas. Obviously, the lower the fruit content, the cheaper the product, but at the same time the products taste less natural.
Important notice: Choose only 100%orange juice. Juice mixes like carrots with oranges are not natural and contain sugar and stabilizers.
I'll choose: Tropicana and Maccaw, both without any preservatives and no added sugar with the highest concentration of natural Orange in it (unless some ingredients are hidden). Maccaw has (L-Ascorbic Acid) added to the bottles.
I'll avoid: Bonjus, Mister Juice and Welch's
So, now for you:  "Which one will you choose for your kids"? Share your thoughts with us.
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