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Fruit Juices – Product Review

May 3, 2007
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The other day at The Dollar Shop in Mulund I picked up a juice brand called Rubykrist. The sales boy told me that this wasn’t real fruit juice, it was synthetic as it was made from concentrate. He showed out the “Made from Concentrate” label and told me that Indian juices were the pure ones.

But all Indian juices are made from concentrate (which does not necessarily mean that they are synthetic), but when I informed the sales boy about this, he argued. The ingredients listed on the label on Rubykrist Grape Juice did indeed show that the juice was not synthetic, that it contained real fruit, although it was made from concentrate. I decided to buy the juice to try it out. The price was Rs 99/- for two litres of grape juice which I thought was a good bargain. Most Indian juices cost from Rs 70- 80/- per litre.

The taste of the juice was a trifle dilute as compared to the Indian juices. The juice also contained flavours, apparently “natural”. Another disadvantage was that this juice contained colour and there was a slight synthetic taste. I liked the juice however, as it wasn’t too sweet. Its not easy to get sugar free juices in India as they always seem to be out of stock. And the ones that contain with sugar are excruciatingly sweet for my taste. I guess Rubykrist is okay if you want to serve it in lieu of a soft drink, a healthy drink instead of the usual Colas, but as a breakfast drink I think it isn’t pure enough.

As for the Indian juices – whether, Real, Leh Berry or Safal, they are all made from concentrate which makes them processed and thus leaves them with far less nutritious than packed fresh juices. However out of these, Real Apple and Real Orange do not contain artificial flavours or colours. That is big plus. They are also less dilute than Rubykrist.

Leh Berry, also made from concentrate, contains water, sugar, fruit juice concentrate, berry pulp, citric and ascorbic acid and also flavourings, but no colour and no preservatives. However, the flavours are strong and there is a slight artificial taste to the juice.

Safal fruit juice seems to be the worst of the lot. In addition to it being too sweet, it contains flavours and colours. Even though fruit concentrates are present in good quantity, there are stabilizers, an acidity regulator, plus colours and flavours. No preservatives though. This juice has an artificial taste inspite of real fruit being used.

Safa is imported from the middle east and is made from concentrate. It doesn’t contain anything artificial, but I didn’t like this as much as I like the Real Juices.

Ceres, from South Africa is real, really real juice as its not made from a concentrate and nor does it contain any flavours or colours. Its tasty too…and expensive. Can cost upwards of Rs 80/- for one litre.

Another South African brand, Liquifruit, is like Ceres, as its not made from concentrate. Not as tasty as Ceres though.

Now, these juices, which all sell on the nutrition angle, are fairly good when compared to say, Tang the powder drink. Tang is completely artificial, a non fruit drink. True, it has added vitamins, and a strong orange flavour, but its synthetic.

If you get these juices at a discount, you can pick one up for around Rs 50, but the prices depend on the flavour and the brand. The average price of a litre is around Rs 70/-

Update 12th May 2008: Mumbai Mirror wrote about this topic today. Basically it was what I had written (this post is a year old) but with far less information.

10 Comments leave one →
  1. May 3, 2007 9:15 am

    When ingedients are listed on a product the ones at the top are always the highest percentage in the product. So a “juice” with sucrose or fructose as the first, second and/or third ingredient is really, primarily, liquid sugar and no better or nutritious than a pop like Coke or Pepsi. “Rubykrist”, for example, has “concentrated juice” so far down the list that it’s really a non-carbonated pop marketed as a healthy juice.

    “Natural” flavours, “flavourings” or “colours” does not in any way mean “real fruit”, these are marketing methods of saying “chemicals” without sounding negative. Juices made from concentrate, with sucrose or fructose added, almost always have the nutitional content of real fruit sucked out of them during the manufacturing process. This is why you might see “Added Vitamin C” on the label.

    Of all of the products you’ve offered I’d stick with the “Liquifruit”, “Ceres” and “Safa”. The non-sugar based juices are more expensive here as well, I just paid $4.99CDN for 2L of pure orange juice from Tropicana, where I could have bought 4L of a generic “from concentrate” orange juice instead. Or, for the same amount, I could have bought roughly 8L of Tang.

    Sugar is cheaper than real juice, but sugar can be marketed as though it were real juice by using the right words.

  2. May 3, 2007 2:25 pm

    For some reason ALL Indian juices are made from concentrate. Even Tropiciana which is sold here is made from concentrate. I am not sure why we don’t make real packaged juices here, which as you mentioned, are far more nutritious than juices made from concentrate.

  3. May 3, 2007 2:55 pm

    There is “real juice” being sold in India, it just comes from outside India…. I’ve found a few websites, including an Indian government one, which say it comes down to 1) consumers not trusting the labels, 2) the labels not being regulated properly therefore claims like “Real Juice” can be made even though the product is almost entirely sugar water, and 3) no enough incentive for local Indian-based juice companies to get involved with real juice. Sugar is cheaper and has a higher profit margin than squeezing some apples and packaging the juice — the same applies for “outside” companies selling juice in India like Pepsi, which makes Tropicana… so Tropicana Orange Juice is different in India than the product sold in Canada. If a claim is made in Canada, like “100% Real Juice”, there are federal and provincial laws in place which make sure the claims being made are true. There are also non-governmental consumer protection agencies doing the same work.

    I’ll leave some of the links, sorry if the html goes haywire… if they don’t work I’ll email them to you.

    1) “More juice in the juice market” (make sure to check out the responses)

    2) “Fruit Production in India”

    3) (This is all the info I could get from them for free) Report on Indian Fruit Juices & Drinks Market 2005: For Indians drinking juice is not a new concept. Street corner vendors have been popular for years. Fruit juices in the unorganized segment are considered cheaper and fresher by the consumers, even though they are relatively unhygienic.
    The organized natural juice market is currently in a nascent stage-though it is growing at a healthy 35-40 percent rate per annum. This market has had high entry barriers. Few customers are convinced about packaged juices being preservative free, and therefore, as healthy as freshly squeezed juice. The drinks market is relatively more mature and growing at 20-25 percent.

    4) “A Juicy Opportunity”

  4. May 3, 2007 6:31 pm

    Thanks a lot for all that info and btw, the comment was not caught by the spammer.🙂
    The links are working alright.
    Its a pity that inspite of growing such a wide variety of fruits we cannot produce a single decent fruit juice, just concentrates! Awareness about the difference between concentrates and real juices is low here. Unless you have lived abroad you won’t know the difference. But yes, people feel the packaged juices have preservatives and believe that the juice doesn’t taste good because of this. Actually the juices don’t taste natural because they are made from concentrates.
    We have a very poor consumer movement here, and mostly companies take consumers for a ride.
    Cost is also a factor. For example you paid about 5 Canadian dollars for 2L of pure juice and thats Rs 185/- here which makes it too expensive. Even more expensive than Ceres. Few people buy Ceres here because of the cost factor. In fact Rs 60/- to Rs 70/- per liter (Indian juices sell or around that much) also pinches. Salaries here are low as compared to Canada, naturally. I remember reading somewhere that this is the reason why Indian companies prefer not to sell actual juice. Its cheaper to transport and make juices from concentrates and the companies can make a decent profit. Right now in any case volumes are low as drinking juice for breakfast has not caught on that much.
    Where the roadside juices are concerned, they are quite likely to give one worms and only those with very strong stomachs have them. I used to at one time, but have stopped.

  5. August 28, 2008 9:00 am

    Came across your article while researching to post a review of Leh Berry. We don’t get it in Kolkata, but after some rave reviews from my aunt I tried it out in Delhi. Honestly, I was not at all impressed. It felt like I was tasting sugar and artificial flavour, in both the “blackcurrant” and the “seabuckthorn” flavours. I guess people are trying to popularize juice in the Indian market, and in the process diluting and processing it beyond recognition.
    Real Activ is the only brand I’ve tried so far that says “no artificial colour, flavour or preservatives”. Real has some added “natural identical flavour” as far as I remember. Even Tropicana Premium Gold, which i used to take as a standard, now has “added nature identical flavour”. Tropicana Premium has added flavour and sugar, not sure about the preservative part.

    So far, it seems to be worth my while to make my own fruit juice or just eat the fruit whole.

  6. Nirav permalink
    May 5, 2009 1:47 am

    I am working on an analysis of the fruit beverages market of India, and this post of yours really helped me a lot.

    Thanks a ton!
    🙂
    Nirav

    • May 5, 2009 10:55 am

      Nirav, a comment like yours makes my day. Thank you for leaving a note. This is why I feel it’s worth taking the trouble to write such posts. Categorized information is not always available to people, and if it is then people charge for it. I feel that information should be free.

  7. Kanishk Arya permalink
    December 5, 2011 11:18 pm

    Hi,

    Thanks for this article. It helped me too in my research on the Indian juice industry. I want to ask if the products like Tropicana 100% and Real Nectar have taken care of the above-mentioned issues like purity and the concentrates being used instead of the actual squeezed juice?

    • December 6, 2011 8:25 am

      Kanishk, It is not a problem for them. The companies are not doing any illegal. It is a conscious decision. If they use actual squeezed juice the price to consumers will double. And when the juice is not pure (for example with added sugar or added flavours and colours) that too is a conscious decision and the price to consumers is lower as the presence of sugar means they can use less actual juice.
      This article is to just make consumers aware so that they do not get the idea that they are drinking pure juice. – Nita.

    • diteshray permalink
      July 4, 2013 5:29 am

      Kanishk,
      Very soon , One of overseas company is launching real juice in to Indian market including organic juice choice for consumer. It will be premium products and quite expensive. I would say 750ml for Rs. 270.
      What do you think a market will be for this type of product in India.
      Thanks,
      Ditesh

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