Thursday, 19 October 2017

Fancy A Bit Of Health?

The voice was stern, the thought was oops what I have said, done, or forgotten now. Although early in the morning there was still a rich choice of errors of judgement.

But no abject confession was needed. It wasn't me it was the Prince of Wales what done it according to the bit on the label saying "Supporting The Prince's Charities".

The pack was a Waitrose Duchy Organic Orange Juice; well not quite juice a concentrate. Other words told me that it was made from oranges grown without reliance on artificial chemicals or fertilisers.

This could mean camel dung, but let us not quibble about sourcing these substances. Turning over the box gave the ingredients, the usual stuff with a good whack of Vitamin C, just to keep us happy. Also a enough of sugars to satisfy those who like it sweet and strong.

But wait! Another thing, in rather fainter type "Orange Juice From Concentrate With Added Non-Organic Aromas". So it is organic but if you smell it or smell the smell it is not organic. So what has the nose done wrong then?

It seems that all that concentrating, distilling and organic peasants treading the oranges leave it with a smell which is not nice. And we humans are fussy about smells. Scientists tell us that if we do not like a smell there may be good reason found in the brain parts served by the nasal receptors.

The orange juice which is allowed to call itself organic by law is also allowed by law to be non-organic in the way it smells and no indication or information of the substances, possibly synthetic or brewed in a laboratory filled with cackling aliens bent on taking over Earth.

The web yielded this one:



"Dirty Little Secret. Orange juice is artificially flavored to taste like orange juice."

How do you make orange juice? Simple! Squeeze oranges and drink. How do big box companies make orange juice? Complicated! Squeeze oranges, remove oxygen, re-flavor the now flavorless orange juice with artificially orange "flavor packs" and...drink?


I never thought about it but it makes incredible sense now. Orange juice from Tropicana, Simply Orange, Minute Maid, Florida's Natural, etc.—they're all ridiculously consistent in their flavor. And the trick isn't to get the most delicious tasting oranges but rather to create their own unique artificial flavor.

It all starts with the stripping of the oxygen. Once the juice is squeezed and stored in gigantic vats, they start removing oxygen. Why? Because removing oxygen from the juice allows the liquid to keep for up to a year without spoiling.

But! Removing that oxygen also removes the natural flavors of oranges. Yeah, it's all backwards. So in order to have OJ actually taste like oranges, drink companies hire flavor and fragrance companies, the same ones that make perfumes for Dior, to create these "flavor packs" to make juice taste like, well, juice again.

The formulas vary to give a brand's trademark taste. If you're discerning you may have noticed Minute Maid has a candy like orange flavor. That's largely due to the flavor pack Coca-Cola has chosen for it.

Some companies have even been known to request a flavor pack that mimics the taste of a popular competitor, creating a "hall of mirrors" of flavor packs. Despite the multiple interpretations of a freshly squeezed orange on the market, most flavor packs have a shared source of inspiration: a Florida Valencia orange in spring.

The flavor packs aren't listed in the ingredients because they're technically derived from "orange essence and oil", whatever the hell that means. So just remember, when you buy Orange Juice next time, even though it says 100% juice (which it is), it's still 100% artificially flavored. [Food Renegade via Hacker News]


The best thing is to buy oranges and make your own juice and take it neat or with water or something stronger to taste.

The Prince of Wales can be left to stew in his own orange juice.


  1. I remember making one or two of these compounds in the lab. Many are simple esters and cheap to make on a large scale.

    You are right - if you want real orange juice buy oranges.

  2. Similar to my current Thai chicken. We are warned to expect a strange smell when the pack’s opened. We are told it is “normal”.

  3. Fields was famous for his drinking, and while he was never falling down drunk, alcohol didn't help his disposition. He was notorious for carrying a flask on movie sets, claiming to interested parties that it contained mere pineapple juice. One time a co-worker stole it, emptied the contents and poured real pineapple juice in it. Fields unwittingly took a swig and almost choked. "Whose been putting pineapple juice in my pineapple juice?"

    Another time Fields kept messing up his lines saying things like," Charles Forbusher." "Bill stick to the lines," said the Director. "What? Why you scoundrel. Charles Forbusher has gotten laughs for years." After muttering under his breath that," the fellow doesn't know what he is doing," Fields seemed to get back on track, then blew another line with an equally ridiculous name. Again he was rebuffed and retorted angrily. It was whispered on the set that he was drunk. It turned out that he received a bonus if he filmed past midnight, which he accomplished after several more "screw-ups".

    Sometimes Fields could use alcohol to get the best of a co-star. In the film Tillie And Gus (1935), The Great Man was paired with the three year old Baby Le Roy. As far as the curmudgeon was concerned, the devil child was there to ruin his career. During a break in filming Le Roy's mother was about to give him some orange juice when Fields said,"Take a break dear lady, I'll give the little nipper his juice." As soon as the grateful woman was out of sight, Fields took out his flask and spiked the orange juice with a generous helping of gin. Later, when the poor child was stumbling around the set Fields yelled," The kid's no trooper! Look at him!"