THIS POST ISNâ€™T ABOUT WHETHER CAPRI SUN IS A HEALTHY OPTION. It is about advertisers bending the truth, food production and marketing tricks and, most of all, knowing what youâ€™re really ingesting.
Capri Sun has been advertising heavily for its two new products: Sunrise, a replacement for boring old orange juice, and 100% Juice, a replacement for boring old juice boxes. The ads and web site focus on how much fun Capri Sun is, especially the pouch. â€œFun-for-them, no-fuss-for-youâ€ and â€œthe pouch kids love.â€ Â The website says â€œKeepinâ€™ it real.â€
Oh, really, Capri Sun? Letâ€™s see how â€œrealâ€ youâ€™re â€œkeepinâ€™ itâ€.
Capri Sun Sunrise
Sunrise comes in three flavors: Orange Wake Up, Tropical Morning, and Berry Tangerine. Â Each has 15 g sugar and 100% vitamin C.
One might think that the Orange Wake Up is made with orange juice, the Tropical Morning is made with tropical fruit juices, and the Berry Tangerine was made with berry and tangerine juices, but, well, one would be wrong.
All three are made with the same exact ingredients:
Water, Sugar, Apple And Orange Juice Concentrates, Calcium Lactate, Citric Acid, Water Extracted Orange Juice Concentrate, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Natural Flavor.
While there is orange juice in the Orange Wake Up, itâ€™s also in the other two drinks. Â In fact, all three of these drinks are apple and orange juice. The ingredient giving these drinks each their unique flavor is the last ingredient: Natural Flavor.
Natural flavor isnâ€™t the natural flavors that come from the fruits in the product name. Itâ€™s a flavor concocted by a food scientist from natural ingredients rather than synthetic ones. (Read more about the difference in Scientific American (http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=what-is-the-difference-be-2002-07-29), and note that natural flavor isnâ€™t necessarily healthier or safer.)
As a consumer, itâ€™s important to note that Capri Sun doesnâ€™t call these products orange juice, tropical fruit juice and berry tangerine juice. If it did, then thatâ€™s what theyâ€™d have to be. Â In fact, the word juice doesnâ€™t even appear on the front of the pouch.
Similar tactics are used with the 100% Juice.
Capri Sun 100% Juice
This product reminds me of a store I used to drive by when commuting. It had a big sign out front screaming â€œBankruptcy Sale!â€ which turned out to be merely the name of the store, not a reflection of the storeâ€™s finances or prices.
Capri Sun does something similar by naming its product â€œ100% Juiceâ€ â€“ that is the name of the product, not even a label claim.
Even if it was a label claim, itâ€™s important to understand that in food products, â€œ100%â€ doesnâ€™t mean the same thing as it does in math. Something can be labeled â€œ100% juiceâ€ and still have other ingredients, in this case, citric acid and natural flavor.Â Whether those ingredients are a problem is a question for another time. The point is, a product can say 100% juice, but it isnâ€™t and you have to check the ingredients.
100% Juice comes in 5 flavors: Fruity Dive, Berry Breeze, Apple Splash, Grape Tide, Cirtus Wave. The reason Capri Sun gives these drinks such fancy names isnâ€™t just to make them sound â€œcoolâ€, itâ€™s also because the company isnâ€™t then limited to using a certain type of juice.
For example, Berry Breeze does contain strawberry juice, along with pear and grape juices. Last time I checked, pears and grapes werenâ€™t berries. But with the use of Natrual Flavor, Capri Sun can make it taste as berry-like as needed and the Citric Acid makes it taste tart.
The other drinks have a similar composition, relying heavily on apple and grape juice, some other juice, citric acid, and natural flavors to round out the taste.
Fruity Dive: Apple, Grape, And Cherry Juices From Concentrate (Water; Grape, Apple And Cherry Juice Concentrates); Citric Acid (For Tartness); Natural Flavor.
Berry Breeze: Pear, Grape, And Strawberry Juices Form Concentrate (Water; Pear, Grape And Strawberry Juice Concentrates); Citric Acid (For Tartness); Natural Flavor.
Apple Splash: Apple Juice From Concentrate (Water, Apple Juice Concentrate), Citric Acid (For Tartness), Natural Flavor.
Grape Tide: Apple And Grape Juices From Concentrate (Water, Apple And Grape Juice Concentrates), Citric Acid (For Tartness), Natural Flavor.
Citrus Wave: Apple, Grape, Pear, Orange, And Tangerine Juices Form Concentrate (Water; Grape, Apple, Pear, Tangerine, And Orange Juice Concentrates); Citric Acid (For Tartness); Natural Flavor.
The bottom line: Capri Sun Sunrise and 100% Juice arenâ€™t exactly what weâ€™re led to believe based on the advertising. Food marketers routinely bend the truth on packaging â€“ thatâ€™s their job, to get us to buy the product. Always check the ingredients â€“ thatâ€™s our job, to know what our families our eating.