Some people may have heard that there are ingredients in most premium orange juices that companies are not required to put on their labeling. The ingredients in question are not really a secret, but the industry doesn’t talk about them much. Because most orange juice is held in long-term storage tanks and loses some of its flavor in that time, the juice is reinforced with flavor packs of ingredients that bring back the good taste.
Although some brands do not include packets of flavor ingredients in their juices, or use long-term storage tanks before shipping juice to customers, most of those in the orange industry says that the flavor packs are necessary to keep up with the consumer demand for consistent orange juice. This has resulted in top brands such as Tropicana, Minute Maid, Simply Orange and Florida Natural to employ flavor packs to process what the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) identifies as "pasteurized" orange juice.
Most of the brands of “not made from concentrate" orange juice first appeared on store shelves back in the 1980s in order to show they were a different product from frozen juice and other bottled concentrates. Since the 80’s, sales of the premium brands have soared and now some are saying the addition of flavor packs actually makes premium juice brands more like concentrates, and that consumers should know about the practice.
The actual flavor packs are created from the volatile compounds in the peel and pulp that escape from the orange during the pasteurization step, and help make up for the loss of taste and aroma during the heating process. Different brands of orange juice employ different proprietary flavor packs to give their products a unique taste that is consistent across the product line. Because flavor packs are not made from chemicals but come through the physical process of boiling and capturing the natural volatile compounds, the Food and Drug Administration does not require adding flavor packs to the labeling of pasteurized juice because the flavor pack is essentially a natural byproduct of the orange.
Although it seems to make sense that orange juice manufacturers would need to add the flavor packs in order for the freshness to last until consumers buy and store the juice at home, not all consumers are happy about the fact that the packs are not listed on the labels as ingredients. The lack of flavor pack ingredients on premium orange juice labels may change in the future as more consumers exert their rights to know exactly what's in the foods they are buying.
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