Premium Juice Brands Working on Lowering Sugar in Their Drinks

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Sugar has long been a battle for soda companies and shelf-stable juices, but premium juice brands are now facing the challenge of reducing sugar in their healthy drinks. Premium juice brands typically use fresher ingredients without any added sugars. However, adding some fruit juices and flavors can quickly increase the sugar content in their drinks. In response to the growing fight against sugar, juice brands are innovating the formulations, processing methods, and marketing to take sugar head on.

Not All Sugars Are Created Equal

It is no easy task to eliminate the sugar in these juice brands. CEO of Suja Juice, Jeff Church, says he has watched the market evolve in just the past five years. When Suja Juice started, it had roughly 25g of sugar per bottle, but after listening to consumers, they have decreased the sugar to 10 grams or less per bottle. Church believes that consumer demographics have played a considerable role in the lower sugar options in the market. Baby boomers are more tolerant of higher sugar content than millennials. However, both carry significant weight in sales. Church believes this has forced brands to take a broad focus on reducing sugar.

On the other hand, Ryne O’Donnell, CEO of Sol-ti, is taking a different approach. He believes consumers need to understand that not all sugars are created equal. He believes that adding beneficial fruits and vegetables that may be high in natural sugars outweighs the potential negatives.

Courtroom Controversy for Juice Brands

Some of the first juice brands have faced courtroom controversy from anti-sugar crusaders. Odwalla, a subsidiary of Coca-Cola, faced backlash and a class action lawsuit for the phrase “evaporated cane juice” on its ingredient label. The lawsuit was ultimately withdrawn, but the Odwalla was hit with another suit based on their “No Sugar Added” phrase on their packaging. They are currently in private mediation with no expected ruling or settlement until the middle of 2018.


Center for Science in the Public Trust also filed a lawsuit against Pepsi’s Naked Juice brand in 2017. CSI believed naked was mislead consumers through marketing products with the wrong fruits and vegetables on the packaging and use of phrases like “No Sugar Added.” Pepsi settled and agreed to update its packaging with more accurate ingredients and decrease the font size of “No Sugar Added.”

New Brands on the Block Looking to Capitalize

Edit Fruit Juice was founded in 2013 with the idea to solve the technical issue of eliminating natural sugars from fruit. The company’s patented process enables them to extract 90% of all natural sugars from the fruit so that their 100% fruit juice contains less than 1g of sugar per serving.

Other brands are adapting by adding natural sweeteners like stevia and monk fruit. However, some premium juice brands don’t like the idea of adulterating pure juice. It will be a battle of brands trying to create the most premium juices while decreasing sugar at the same time. They still have to taste delicious and make consumers feel like they are making a healthy choice.

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Vegetables Can Improve The Nutrition Content Of Kid’s Juices

Fruit juices are perceived as healthy beverages, but the media has reported that many smoothies and kid’s juices contain higher amounts of sugar than carbonated drinks like soda. Sugar is now well researched as the culprit to different metabolic disorders like obesity and diabetes. The fruit juice market has been hit hard by the negative aspects of sugar with a decline in sales over the past few years.  Juice producers have a new opportunity to bring back the healthy image that they present to their customers by adding more vegetables to their juices in turn lowering the sugar and calorie content.

The Trend Of Juicing Vegetables

In recent years, many consumers have developed an interest for vegetable juices for health reasons. With public campaigns encouraging people to consume more vegetables daily and more celebrity chefs preparing vegetable recipes, consumption of vegetables have been glamorized.

The vegetable trend has led to the rise of different diet movements like flexitarians (semi-vegetarians), vegetarians, and vegans. It has also opened many opportunities for restaurants and the food industry to provide products that meet these new needs of consumers. We are starting to see products like vegetable spiralizers, cold-pressed juicers, and ready-made vegetable juices on market shelves.

Brands Have Joined In The Vegetable Bandwagon

Multiple brands have acceded to the bandwagon of incorporating vegetables into their fruit juices. One such company is a Japanese corporation, Kagome. The Japanese consumer demands healthy options and new flavors in their fruit juices and what better way to provide it to the customers than putting vegetables into their fruit juices.

Another company that has incorporated vegetables in its juice products is Coldpress Ltd. The fruit juices are not heat-pasteurized to retain the taste and nutrients of the finished product. Sugar is no longer added to their juices as they rely on the natural sweetness of the fruits for the sugar content.

Newer Trends In Fruit Juices

Aside from fruit juices, some trends are being adopted by beverage brands. As vegetables have been incorporated to add more health value to fruit juices, other trends have also sprung to improve the nutritional profile of fruit juices. Below are the new trends that have taken the fruit juice industry by storm.

  • More Superfoods in Juices: The fruit juice industry predicts that there will be a rise in super-fruit juices into 2020. For example, some companies have already added superfood chia seeds to their fruit juice products since 2015. Other superfoods that have been incorporated in fruit juices include Aloe Vera, coconut water, and maple water.
  • Fresher Fruit Juices: While bottled fruit juices have already been sterilized to increase their shelf-life, more fruit juice producers are developing more refreshing fruit juices to provide more nutritional value to their customers. Using cold-pressed juicing is a method that allows juice companies to create fresher and more nutritious juices. Moreover, juice bars have also become popular to provide juices from kitchen to mouth
  • Natural Vitamins in Juices: Companies like NutriFusion are helping beverage and drink brands add real vitamins from whole fruits and vegetables to their products. Since most juices are going through pasteurization, their nutrients are lost in the process. NutriFusion products are stable in heat and allow juice companies to quickly add back plant-based nutrition that is typically lost in processing.

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Kid Fruit Juices Contain a Day’s Worth of Sugar

How many times have you given your kid a glass of 100% natural juice and next thing you know, they are bouncing off the walls? The answer is probably close to 100% of the time. It turns out those “healthy fruit juices” are not so healthy after all. According to a recent research study, more than half of the natural juices that are marketed towards children have unbelievably more than the recommended amount of sugar. The recommended amount of sugar for children in an entire day is about 19 grams or 5 teaspoons. The research study looked at over 200 products,  and more than half of these products pack that same amount in one drink.

Professor Simon Capwell led the research, and this is how they came to the conclusion above. After taking their broad class of samples, the group started to calculate the free sugars. This is the amount of sugar that has been added to the products which include glucose, sucrose, table sugar and also fructose. The free sugars also include the naturally occurring sugars found in honey and syrups. However, this does not contain the sugars that are found in fruits and vegetables.

Parents Beware of Sugar in Fruit Juices

After learning about the impact of other fizzy drinks and sweetened juices, most parents will opt for a healthier option, and when they do, the fruit juices come beckoning. They seem like a much better option, but this is not the case. Parents and even children have been misled into thinking that this is a “healthy” drink for a kid when it is not.

The lead researcher advised parents to look for alternative ways for supplementing their children’s diet. One of the ways would be by feeding the child actual whole fruits. These contain essential fiber that allows the slow release of sugar into the body making it more manageable. If the parent has to opt for fresh juice for their child, they should pick the unsweetened variety and only serve during meals. They can also try to dilute the juice with water to reduce the concentration of sugars. Another tip, when serving juice, the amount should be limited to about 150ml a day.

As expected, the research did not sit well with the representatives of the Juice Based Products Association, who thought that parents should feel good about having the sweetened fruit juice for their children. The naysayers referred to research that indicates that drinking the juice does not lead to dental cavities and that in fact, more frequent drinking might have a protective effect in the dental nature of the kid. That is a debatable matter. What is not debatable, is that by letting your child drink this fresh juice filled with sugar, you are pumping them with way more than they need for the day.

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NutriFusion® Transforms Fruit Juices for Kids

So, we have too much sugar in our 100% fruit juices…It’s time to make a change and develop a better for you product line. The biggest problem that we see with juices other than the elevated sugar content is the lack of nutritional value. One would think if you are drinking fruit juice, then you are getting all the nutrients from fruit. Well, that is not the case. In fact, the majority of these juices have no vitamins and minerals, or they are fortified with synthetic forms of the nutrients. We can help you add back the natural nutritional value that these products desperately need.

NutriFusion® developed a patent pending method to stabilize the nutrients in whole fruits and vegetables. Our proprietary method keeps the nutrients stable through the intensive heating and cooling of modern day beverage processing. If you are interested in learning more about NutriFusion® for beverages, please visit the page below.