Monday, February 14, 2005

I want my “Regular” (or: another reason why change in bad)

Many minor things happen during the day to peeve people, but you don’t want to hear about them. This starts as one of those stories, but, and stick with me here, there’s actually a point.

At school, the drink machine on the 2nd floor features a large display of Dole Orange Juice 100% Juice in a 15.2 ounce bottle (couldn’t put in that extra 0.8 oz, could they?). Because all the selections cost the same ($1.25), I always felt like I was beating the system ever-so-slightly by selecting the one choice that was 100% juice and not a sugar-filled juice “drink.” So I press the 100% orange juice button this time and receive Dole Light Orange. 50% juice. That sucks. No more orange juice. And they don’t have the common courtesy to change the add or the button. But what can you do? This isn’t just another “I got suckered by a machine” or “let’s stick it to the man” story.

Here’s the interesting part: Dole promotes this “flavored juice beverage from concentrate” as healthier than regular orange juice. “50% less sugar than regular orange juice,” I'm told. In their “comparison chart,” I’m also informed that “Light Orange” gives me fewer calories and carbohydrates than “regular” orange juice. And in case you’re not carb counting your orange juice, there’s a little green circle with a jaunty white checkmark and a little white circle in the nook of the checkmark. To squinting fans of the abstract, this checkmark and circle could be interpreted as a vivacious person healthily and happily holding her hands in the air. The text on the circle says “Smart Choices Made Easy.” This symbol is the PepsiCo Smart Spot™ symbol designed “to make it easier for people to identify food and beverage choices that contribute to healthier lifestyles.” Phew, because I’m sick of having to work for my smart choices.


So Dole and PepsiCo market a watered-down orange juice as healthier than “real” orange juice because is has 50% less sugar? Oh boy. Half the carbs? You bet! Half the calories? Yes! Yes! Of course it has 50% less of everything, because it’s 50% less orange juice!

Sugars be damned. Watered-down orange juice with processed flavors, acid for tartness, two forms of artificial sweetener, and Beta-Carotene for color is not a healthy alternative to “regular” orange juice.

The taste, by the way, isn’t bad for orange drink. It’s high on the tartness and not overly sweet. But it sure isn’t regular orange juice... and that’s supposed to be good for me?

1 comment:

Fotaq said...

I also noticed that my Diet Pepsi is sporting a Smart Spot. Glad to know that my soda pop is also a smart choice made easy. Who needs orange juice at all?