Exciting Shift in Marketing Super-Fruit Juices
Reasonable Priced, Quality Super-Fruit Juice Products Hit the Supermarket Shelves
Mark Wyatt, May 2012
I stopped by Albertsons last night (in Southern California), and picked up a few items we needed. While there I survyed the super-fruit juice products offered. As usual, they did have quality products such as POM Wonderful, Sambazon, Bolthouse, etc. They also had Knudsen "Just" juices (i.e., Just tart cherry, just pomegranate, etc.). In the regular juice section I did see a lot of products in which the first ingredient was apple, white grape or white pear juice. To me this is a dead give away that these are not premium super-fruit products.
As I surveyed the shelf I saw Very Cherre products. Tart Cherry Pomegranate and Tart Cherry Blueberry stood out. I looked at the ingerdients. For tart cherry-pomegranate, the first three ingredients were: tart cherry, Salvador grape, and pomegranate juices, then ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and vitamin E! The price was $6.69 for 64 fluid ounces. Even better, they were on sale for $3.99. I grabbed one of each, and immediately opened the tart cherry-pomegranate. It tasted like, well tart cherry and pomegranate. It was a delicious drink, and is claimed to have 3100 ORAC per 100 g (roughly 100 ml or 3.4 oz.). This is 7300 ORAC per 8 opz servng! Based on our super-fruit juice comparison metrics,
ORAC/serving = 7300
ORAC/gram sugar = 261
ORAC/calorie = 56.2
ORAC/$ = 8279 (based on retail price, not sale price)
Compare to POM Wonderful at about twice the price
ORAC/serving = 5914
ORAC/gram sugar = 174
Orac/calorie = 37.0
ORAC/$ = 3229
If the ORAC value is as stated, then this is a real value super-fruit beverage. See our super-fruit juice comparison article to see how these products fit into the spectrum of available products.
I found it interesting that Very Cherre used Salvador Grape as an ingredient. This is a very dark gape often used by vinters for its deep dark color (i.e., very high anthocyanin content, or high antioxidants). This is much better than white grape juice (basically sweetener). I suspect that the tart cherries used are more balaton cherries than montmorency cherries, but the ingredients do not specify. Montmorency cherry has been shown to have 6x the melatonin that balaton cherry does (1), but both are considered very high in melatonin, and melatonin is not the only reason to drink tart cherry juice. In fact very Chere sells other products (tart cherry juice, cranberry tart cherry juice, etc.), and the tart cherry juice by itself is claimed to contain 2900 ORAC per 100g.
Another products made by the same company (Old Orchard Brands LLC) caught my eye. This is under the Brand Name Cranberry Naturals. The one I bought is Cranberry Grape, but it was nether of these fruits (good though they are) that caught my attention. It was the the second juice ingredient- aronia berry juice. I am sure this was added manily for color and as a filler (as aronia is not well known yet), but in fact may be the star of the juice drink! Aronia juice is very high in antioxidants, catechins, and caffeic acids. It is best described as the acai of the Americas. The particular product is more of a juice coctail (30% juice), but the addition of aronia juice was interesting. I personally found this product a little on the sweet side (though it is partially sweetend by truvia bringing the calorie count to a slim 70 calories per 8oz. serving). No claims of ORAC are made on this product.
(1): Detection and Quantification of the Antioxidant Melatonin in Montmorency and Balaton Tart Cherries (Prunus cerasus) Susanne Burkhardt, Dun Xian Tan, Lucien C. Manchester, Rudiger Hardeland, and Russel J. Reiter, J. Agric. Food Chem. 2001, 49, 4898-4902