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Now Here’s a Juicy Story…

There’s an old joke about how cheap chicken soup is actually made. They merely dunk a whole chicken in a pot of water, then immediately remove it and dunk it into the next pot. That’s the feeling we get with Juicy Juice’s 100% juice called Orange Tangerine.

Daniel T. wrote to Mouse Print* saying that he was looking to buy tangerine juice, but the closest he could find was this product:

Juicy Juice

Like any good consumer (who reads Consumer World or Mouse Print*), he checked the ingredients statement and got quite a surprise.


Juicy Juice ingredients

Rather than find orange juice and tangerine juice at the top of the list, he found three other juices comprised a majority of the juices in the bottle: apple, pear, and grape.

So how much actual orange juice and tangerine juice is in the product? We asked the manufacturer, Harvest Hill Beverage Company, which did not respond.

It turns out that the FDA has specific rules about juices where the product name and/or depiction of the fruit shown is not the primary ingredient.


(d) In a diluted multiple-juice beverage or blend of single-strength juices where one or more, but not all, of the juices are named on the label other than in the ingredient statement, and where the named juice is not the predominant juice, the common or usual name for the product shall:

(1) Indicate that the named juice is present as a flavor or flavoring (e.g., “Raspcranberry”; raspberry and cranberry flavored juice drink); or

(2) Include the amount of the named juice, declared in a 5- percent range

In plain English this says that in this case the maker cannot call this product “Orange Tangerine” because they are not the main ingredients, other juices are. The company would have to call it “Orange Tangerine flavored juice” or specifically declare the percentages of orange juice and tangerine juice in the bottle.

What the manufacturer did instead is include a fine print disclosure at the bottom of the front label:


Juicy Juice disclosure

Does that hard to read disclosure meet the requirements of the law? Not in our view, because it was not incorporated into the product name which simply is “Orange Tangerine.” And because “Orange Tangerine” is in close proximity to the words “100% juice,” consumers are likely to believe the bottle only contains orange and tangerine juice.

As it turns out, we are not the only ones to come to this conclusion. Back in 2009, the Food and Drug Administration sent a warning letter to Nestle, the company that manufactured Juicy Juice at the time, making that very point and calling the product “misbranded” as a result:

Additionally, we have reviewed the labeling of your Nestle Juicy Juice All Natural 100% Juice Orange Tangerine and Nestle Juicy Juice All Natural 100% Juice Grape products. These products are misbranded under section 403(a)(1) of the Act [21 USC 343(a)(1)] because their labels are misleading. The label of the Orange Tangerine product is designed to imply that the product is 100% orange/tangerine juice, and the label of the Grape product is designed to imply that product is 100% grape juice. The principal display panels identify the products as “Orange Tangerine” and “Grape,” respectively, in large, bold lettering outlined in black; however, neither orange/tangerine juice nor grape juice is the predominant juice in the products.The statements “All Natural-100% Juice” in close proximity to the words “Orange Tangerine”or “Grape” and vignettes of oranges or grapes also may lead consumers to believe that the products are 100% orange/tangerine juice or 100% grape juice when, in fact, they are not. The separate statement at the base of the respective principal display panels, “Flavored juice blend from concentrate with other natural flavors & added ingredients,” appears in a smaller font and white print on a colored background. The manner in which the latter statement is presented makes it less conspicuous and prominent than the other label statements and vignettes and therefore less likely to be read or understood by consumers at the time of purchase.

We don’t know the result of the warning letter, and the current owners of Juicy Juice (Harvest Hill Beverage Company) did not respond to our two inquiries concerning the labeling issue. We do know that the labeling has not changed much since 2009.

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10 thoughts on “Now Here’s a Juicy Story…”

  1. The question becomes why does the Harvest Hill Beverage Company create this deception? My guess is that apple, pear and grape juices are cheaper than tangerine and orange juices. Are you proud of yourself, Harvest Hill? Does it make you feel good that you are putting something over on unwitting consumers?

  2. Like cranberry juice try finding one that is not a blend. Usually I have to go to the organic section to now find pure non blend cranberry juice or like above tangerine juice. Should be mandatory if its a blend then in bold letters it should be annotated “BLEND” on the front of the packing. I like my cranberry and tangerine juice why the heck would I want apple, pear or grape juice when that was not my intended purchase…..

  3. Well Edgar… Just go to the grocery store and even look at the ingredients for the store brand fruit juices that say they are 100%.

    Apple is going to be at the top of the ingredients list. Apple juice is soooo cheap to get.

    This is in the same idea as the Beefers story. What is the percent of Apple Juice in the Orange Tangerine Juice.

    Edgar replies: Richard, all we know is that apple is the first ingredient, so it is the dominant juice.

  4. I guess no one would buy a bottle labeled, “Sorta Like Juice Described” or “Juice Mixed From Various Sources.” You wouldn’t want to pay the price for 100% Juice as named, so they have to use, wait for it, deception!

  5. Technically the words “100% Juice” and “Orange Tangerine” are two separate statements, which would continue to give the manufacturer plausible deniability.

    If they started to label the package with “100% Orange Tangerine Juice”, then there would be a problem”

    If the FDA warned them in 2009 and no action was taken, I assume that the manufacturer is still in the clear, which makes me uncomfortable.

    Edgar replies: Wayne, you forget that the only fruits pictured on the front label are oranges and tangerines, which in itself is a misrepresentation of the actual contents.

  6. Well MerryMarjie…. The only fruit juice I buy has to be labeled 100% juice. At least I feel better buying that than buying something that says juice cocktail on it.

  7. I’ll tell you exactly why apple, pear, and grape juices are in there: they are basically pure sugar. They can claim “no added sugar” and “100% juice”. So you can add those to the list of deceptions on the package.

    Re: 100% cranberry juice, this product is not sold as a juice drink because, well, try tasting it without dilution and adding sugar. So it will either be <20% juice or a blend like the one here. Orange/tangerine juices, on the other hand, are quite consumable at 100% strength.

  8. What bothers me more is the use of the term “concentrate” where the primary ingredient is water. Is there an FDA rule as to how much of this compound has to be actual juice-of-the-fruit? Otherwise, the mix can have as much as 99% water with artificial essences. Shame on them!

  9. Well Al Weiss I am not so sure what the full rules here are. This Juicy Juice in question meets the rules for 100% juice based on the ingredients list as you only have fruit and water here.

    If you start adding in ingredients such as High Fructose Corn Syrup into the mix this will be labeled A Juice Cocktail as fruit and water is less than 100%.

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