Orange juice is just orange juice, right? That “100% juice, not made from concentrate” Tropicana or Florida orange juice stuff, I mean — the stuff that has to be refrigerated and contains no additives. Well, it’s not actually juice like you and I think of juice…. I’ll give you a warning, though: if you love it and nothing’s going to make you stop drinking it anyway, you may not want to read on, ’cause this is gonna get nasty….
Why Does Your Favorite Brand of Orange Juice ALWAYS Taste the Same?
Food Renegade had a story on this recently that triggered this piece, and their piece has a nice intro into the issue that I’ll just paste here:
Haven’t you ever wondered why every glass of Tropicana Pure Premium orange juice tastes the same, no matter where in the world you buy it or what time of year you’re drinking it in? Or maybe your brand of choice is Minute Maid or Simply Orange or Florida’s Natural. Either way, I can ask the same question. Why is the taste and flavor so consistent? Why is it that the Minute Maid never tastes like the Tropicana, but always tastes like its own unique beverage?
Well, of course, their oranges aren’t always the same, and always different from the other companies’. And, actually, that’s the point — it doesn’t really matter what the oranges are like, because you won’t even taste them in the end.
Turns out, after the oranges are squeezed for these corporate orange juice companies, the juice is stored in giant tanks. But they may need to sit there for awhile, and you know how quickly juice can go bad, so the companies remove oxygen from the juice, allowing it to sit there for up to about a year without going bad!
But, after this process, the orange juice is basically flavorless. So, each coming uses its own chemistry mix to give the juice its own distinct orange juice flavor.
Alissa Hamilton of Civil Eats writes:
When the juice is stripped of oxygen it is also stripped of flavor providing chemicals. Juice companies therefore hire flavor and fragrance companies, the same ones that formulate perfumes for Dior and Calvin Klein, to engineer flavor packs to add back to the juice to make it taste fresh. Flavor packs aren’t listed as an ingredient on the label because technically they are derived from orange essence and oil. Yet those in the industry will tell you that the flavor packs, whether made for reconstituted or pasteurized orange juice, resemble nothing found in nature. The packs added to juice earmarked for the North American market tend to contain high amounts of ethyl butyrate, a chemical in the fragrance of fresh squeezed orange juice that, juice companies have discovered, Americans favor. Mexicans and Brazilians have a different palate. Flavor packs fabricated for juice geared to these markets therefore highlight different chemicals, the decanals say, or terpene compounds such as valencine.
Nice. Makes me want to go drink some “orange juice” right now… NOT.