No matter what brand you have, orange juice is a breakfast tradition in America, and that’s because it’s good for you. It gives you that refreshing boost of energy we all need.
But not all OJ brands are equal, and some have questionable ingredients. If you want the best brands, you have to look a little past the marketing.
So which ones are up to snuff, and what labels should you avoid?
Let’s find out!
The Deets on Orange Juice?
Orange juice is a beverage made from tasty tropical fruit. Varieties include navel, valencia, and mandarine. The commercial version used to come in cans, which soured the taste. But the industry took off after scientists discovered how to make frozen concentrate in the 40s.
This was just in time for the burgeoning television industry. American citrus growers were already pushing their product via newspaper and radio. But television made outreach more effortless. Families gathered around their new TVs, hooked and entranced. And the image of a hearty breakfast with orange juice was born.
OJ is the most popular breakfast drink in America. But it’s also a common morning choice in other countries, such as Brazil, Israel, and Greece.
How Is Orange Juice Made?
The commercial process of making the juice is more complicated than you might think. Most of us have tried our hand at freshly squeezed OJ at home. But it takes a long time and a lot of effort just to get a few drops!
OJ manufacturers start with harvesting and collecting from large groves. Next, they clean and grade the fruit. Once the bad pieces are gone, the batches pass through large extraction machines. Once the juice is filtered, it’s ready for retail processing.
From here, orange juice brands have several choices. They can keep it as a concentrate or reconstitute it with water and additives like sweeteners and preservatives. Finally, the drink is packaged for optimal shelf life, with most brands pasteurizing their product.
Pro Tip: Enjoy Our 10 Favorite Road Trip Snacks on your next adventure.
Is It Okay to Drink Orange Juice Every Day?
Drinking orange juice daily is great if your brand uses 100% juice. And you only drink about one cup per day. Although OJ can boost your immune system, eating whole fruits is even better.
On the other hand, you shouldn’t drink brands from concentrate with sugar added. Watch out for words like punch, cocktail, or even beverage! This typically means consuming sugar and artificial coloring with very little fruit. These sweet drinks can trigger weight gain, stained teeth, and even Type 2 diabetes.
The Best Orange Juice Brands
With so many brands to choose from, it might be easy to grab the wrong kind when you’re in a rush. That’s why we recommend only buying brands made with 100% orange juice, not from concentrate. Our top three choices can be found in most major supermarkets nationwide.
#1 Florida’s Natural
Florida’s Natural keeps it simple with a small variety of 100% pure orange juice products. Some have pulp, and some don’t. But all are high quality with no added sugars or preservatives.
The brand started back in the 30s as a citrus cooperative. Their operation grew during World War II to get refreshments to American soldiers. By the time they officially launched in 1987, Florida’s Natural was a household name.
#2 Simply Orange
The Coca-Cola Company owns this well-known health food store brand. Strange but true! The line of 100% juice products started in 2001. Simply Beverage also makes lemonade, non-dairy drinks, and smoothies.
According to the company’s website, all products come from sustainable growers. They also come with a Fresh Taste Guarantee. You’ll get a free product of choice if you aren’t satisfied. It’s definitely worth a shot!
When it comes to quality orange juice, Tropicana is the most well-known brand around. Company Founder Anthony Rossi started out by hand-delivering jars in the late 40s. He invented a pasteurization process that made shipping and storing pure OJ easy and safe.
PepsiCo now owns Tropicana, but quality standards remain the same. You’ll find a wide variety of options, including vitamin-fortified orange juice and different pulp quantities. Be sure to stick with the Tropicana Pure Premium label. The brand’s other mixed drinks contain added sweeteners.
The Worst Orange Juice Brands
Sometimes, the worst brands get the best votes from your kids. That’s because brands market to them. But they’re full of sugar! You’re best off avoiding them, as fun as these brand names may be.
Tang is a powdered drink mix that supposedly tastes like OJ. Ironically, there’s not a drop of orange in it. Although a couple of varieties exist, sugar comprises around 95% of all ingredients. It also has some dyes and a dash of Vitamin c.
The drink mix gained popularity after NASA astronauts in the 60s used it during space flights. But the astronauts only used it out of necessity, not because of its tangy taste. If you’re anywhere on planet earth, we say to keep you and your kids away from it!
Another flavor marketed to kids, SunnyD, contains a whopping 5% juice. That includes apple, lime, and grape juice. And yes, there is some OJ in there. However, the drink is mostly water and high fructose corn syrup.
The short word on high fructose corn syrup is that it’s terrible for you. And SunnyD isn’t great, either. Back when it was called Sunny Delight in the late 90s, controversy skyrocketed when BBC news reported it could turn a child’s skin orange. Although the name and list of ingredients shifted a little, health advice hasn’t. Best keep away from SunndyD
#3 Great Value
As a general rule, try not to buy orange juice made by Walmart. Although many folks live in places with few grocery options, Walmart stores still have better choices.
While this OJ does contain natural orange, it has a lot of added water. The label warns that it may contain milk, wheat, soy, or shellfish. The bottom line is that it tastes pretty darn bad.
Pro Tip: We crunched the numbers to uncover How Long Can You Go Without Food Without Dying?
Send the Worst Brands a Message and Buy the Best
Orange juice brands range far and wide in what they put in their drinks. You’d think OJ would just be made from oranges! We get that you have to add some water and maybe pasteurize the product for safety.
But beyond that, there’s no reason a naturally sweet beverage should have any sugar added to it. Let alone anything else! Luckily, plenty of delicious orange juice brands are 100% genuine. Once you find them, you’ll know which ones are good enough to put in your cart.
Discover the Best Free Camping Across the USA
To be honest with you, we hate paying for camping. There are so many free campsites in America (with complete privacy).
You should give it a try!
As a matter of fact, these free campsites are yours. Every time you pay federal taxes, you’re contributing to these lands.
Become a FREE CAMPING INSIDER and join the 100,000 campers that love to score the best site!
We’ll send you the 50 Best Free Campsites in the USA (one per state). Access the list by submitting your email below:
You must be logged in to post a comment.