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(BusinessWeek)   Complicated algorithms are responsible for the great taste of your morning orange juice. The oranges? Nah, that's just pulp fiction   ( divider line
    More: Interesting, orange juice, Minute Maid, blacklists, Tropicana, growing seasons, Auburndale, crop yields, Euromonitor  
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1211 clicks; posted to Business » on 02 Feb 2013 at 10:28 AM (5 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

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2013-02-02 04:31:43 PM  
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phaseolus: All that tweaking doesn't suit everyone's taste. Alissa Hamilton, author of the 2010 book Squeezed: What You Don't Know About Orange Juice, says most 100 percent not-from-concentrate OJ is more processed than consumers realize. She has argued for stricter labeling so they know the juice has been engineered from various batches of oranges.

So what if it's been through a couple tanks and blended for consistency? It's not spoiled and you can buy it every day of the year, and the listing of contents on the label tells you exactly what's in the bottle. It's convenient and tastes pretty good. If Ms. Hamilton prefers fresh squeezed juice from new crop fruit for only a month or two every year, she still has that choice. If somebody else prefers frozen concentrate, that choice is available too.

Also, as an electrical engineer who's been in a million food processing plants, this article is relevant to my interests.

This has been covered on Fark before, probably more than once.  But what bothers people is not the fact that they do these things like:

Natural flavors and fragrances captured during squeezing are added back into the juice to restore flavor lost in processing.

It's that they casually omit that fact and rely on consumer ignorance in order to encourage a belief that the juice was simply squeezed and transported.

The process yields better tasting and more consistent orange juice?  Awesome!  It's available year round?  Super convenient!  But implying that the process is less industrial than it actually is: not cool.

Look at the typical advertisement.  Dude standing IN THE ORCHARD reaches out and hands a carton of orange juice to a mom standing outside a fridge in a supermarket hundreds of miles away.  Do you see any tankers?  Do you see a vast processing plant where millions of gallons of orange juice are pumped around and flavors and oils added to them?  Do you see the machines that extract oils and essences from rinds?  No.  You see juice moving directly from orchard to consumer, via a magical hand-off and you are meant to infer that it means "with no intervening industrial processing."

The best part of this scam (and yes, it's a scam) is that most people really haven't had real fresh squeezed orange juice.  It's expensive to do yourself (the mark up on oranges in the supermarket make it impractical), and we've all become accustomed to the frozen reconstituted and fake-fresh varieties that we simply don't know the difference.

I was totally taken in by the scam until I moved to Florida.  People drink the frozen and fake-fresh kind there too, but lots of folks also have a restaurant-grade juice press.  When the picking season comes, you can go to a farmers' market (or direct to an orchard) and buy oranges for absurdly low prices.  A buck a dozen was the going rate when I lived there.  Because they're fresh off the trees, it only takes about four big oranges to fill a huge glass.  (FYI - the typical department store orange juicers, even the electric ones, are a waste of money.  Only a PRESS will get all the juice out of an orange).  The first glass of real orange juice that I tasted was an eye opener.  I had no idea that orange juice was actually supposed to taste like oranges.  I had no idea how much the orange juice I had previously been drinking DIDN'T taste like oranges.

When I can afford it, I prefer actual fresh squeezed orange juice to the fake-fresh variety.  Unfortunately, I don't live in Florida anymore.  The fake-fresh stuff still tastes good, but it definitely has an artificial flavor to it.  If you've never had real orange juice, you probably wouldn't be bothered by it.

I still think they have the right to sell the stuff, and there's no law that MAKES them reveal the heavily industrialized process that they use to concoct it.  But I also think it's a bit of a dickish maneuver for them to conveniently forget to mention it.
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