FAQS about Flavor Packets
Orange juice has always been one of America’s favorite beverages – consumed in nearly 70% of U.S. households[i] and on the menu of nearly two-thirds of limited-service restaurants[ii]. What was once only considered a breakfast beverage is now sought throughout the day, as people seek better-for-you, portable options.
But what really goes into this tried and true favorite? In 2009, Alissa Hamilton’s book “Squeezed: What you don’t know about Orange Juice,” attempted to bring to light some of the truths behind the popularity of orange juice and how it is produced. But, as shown on a recent episode of the Dr. Oz show, which aired on April 1st, 2014, there are still many misconceptions about what goes into America’s favorite juice.
Many consumers remain unaware of the ingredients and additives that go into flavoring orange juice. In fact, flavor packs have been identified as the “dirty secret[iii]” of orange juice; they are the reason “100% pure orange juice” can taste delicious all year round. Sadly, consumers aren’t informed about this process.
The good news is that Uncle Matt’s Organic differentiates itself from conventional juice brands, because it doesn’t rely on added flavoring for taste. Uncle Matt’s Organic is committed to offering people organic, great-tasting juice without additives.
Here’s what you need to know about flavor packets:
Q. What is a flavor packet?
A. To ensure that orange juice maintains a consistent taste and flavor, some orange juice brands work with flavor and fragrance companies to artificially flavor their juice using flavor packets. Made from orange essence and oils, flavor packets are added into juice to create a standard taste. While flavor packets might be chemically altered –– since they are technically derived from orange by-products –– they are not required to be listed as an ingredient.
Q. What goes into a flavor packet?
A. Technically flavor packs are made from orange-derived substances, such as essences and oils. Companies break down the essence and oils into individual chemicals and recombine them into flavor packs.
Q. Why aren’t flavor packets on orange juice labeled?
A. Currently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not require the contents of flavor packets to be detailed on a product’s packaging for orange juice.
Q. How can I tell if there are flavor packets in my juice?
A. While we cannot speak for other companies, Uncle Matt’s Organic believes that people have a right to know what’s in their food. Throughout our 15 year history, the company has maintained its steadfast commitment to producing the most wholesome, organic and natural produce and juice possible.
As part of our mission and to further underscore our pledge to consumers, we’ve added a “no flavor packets” sticker to our line of 100 percent organic, great-tasting citrus juices. While Uncle Matt’s Organic has never used flavor packets in our orange juice, the new label will help make it easier for consumers to make informed purchasing decisions.
Q. Does Uncle Matt’s offer fresh-squeezed, unpasteurized juice?
At this time, no. However, we do provide fresh organic oranges (and other citrus varieties) from November through June that you can purchase nationwide and squeeze at your home while in season. Our flash pasteurized organic orange juice is a convenient option for those who cannot purchase our fresh oranges and squeeze them at home.
Q. I’ve heard about aseptic tanks, when does this process occur?
A. Many producers of “not from concentrate” juice use a production process where the juice is placed in aseptic storage. Essentially, this means that oxygen is removed from the juice. A flavor packet is sometimes added in the final step to give the juice a specific flavor. Uncle Matt’s Organic bottles fresh seasonal fruit that is flash pasteurized from November through June. During the off-season, when Florida fresh organic fruit is not available, we store the majority of our organic juice in frozen drums, not aseptic tanks. That juice is blended until the season begins again in mid-November.
[i] Florida Department of Citrus. “Orange Juice Facts.” www.floridajuice.com
[ii] Wolf, Barney. Bringing the Juice. Health benefits help provide interest in juice drinks and smoothies. Quick Service Magazine. Feb 2013.