Who Wants a Nice Tall Glass of Coca-Cola’s Algorithmic Orange Juice?
Coca-Cola won’t say how it makes its best-selling Simply Orange orange juice, but one thing is for sure: It’s not so simple. A new investigation by Bloomberg Businessweek shows that the Coke-owned orange juice brand that’s billed as less processed version of Tropicana is in fact a hyper-engineered and dauntingly industrial product. The factory in Florida where the bulk of Coke’s orange juice products are made sounds less like a bucolic grove where natural things grow than an oil refinery where natural things go to die. And yes, that includes the “Grove Made” variety.
Read more. [Image: Coca-Cola]
OH, god. I bought in bulk and have 3 of these in my fridge. Now I want to throw them away but my cheap side won’t let me. Nooooo
I love high pulp OJ. This is the only brand I can buy that is high pulp at the store so I’m going to keep buying it. Did anyone actually think that they made this any differently than other OJ? I was never disillusioned to believe that this was somehow made differently than anything else I could buy.
I don’t buy OJ often, because I grew up in Florida but live in Seattle, and it’s just not the same. But this stuff definitely tastes more like the juice I can buy in the groves near my parents’ house than anything else I can find around here. Which doesn’t mean it holds a candle to it, but sometimes I need some as an ingredient. *le sigh*
There’s not a lot I miss about Florida, but buying juice at the grove qualifies. (Along with a warm ocean and thunderstorms.)
See, what’s going on here is faulty deduction.
Fact: Many highly processed foods are not nutritionally sound; they contain carcinogenic chemicals, or those that damage one’s metabolism, digestive system, or circulatory system. (See also MSG, hydrogenated fats, bromenated oils, etc)
Fact: This food is highly processed.
False conclusion: This food must be very bad for you!
Let me just translate the following things out of SCARYSPEAK:
“Built into the model is a breakdown of the 600-plus flavors that are in orange juice that are tweaked throughout the year to keep flavor consistent and in line with consumer tastes”
They did a chemical analysis of a natural product to see what’s in it. For science. They then used the data to find out which chemicals in which combinations resulted in which flavors, and tried to replicate that as consistently as possible by pulling the product into its constituent parts and putting it back together in optimal ratios. We’ve been doing this shit with milk since…ever.
“Coke even sucks the oxygen out of the juice when they send it to be mixed so that they can keep it around for a year or more to balance out other batches”
So…canning, then? You’re describing canning. Like the kind your kindly old grandma used to do with a great big steamy cauldron pot on the stove to make delicious wholesome home made jam. It’s the same ‘Disinfect and remove oxygen to prolong shelf life by reducing bacteria and preventing oxidation’ process.
” Doug Bippert, Coke’s vice president of business acceleration, calls it “a flight simulator for [Coke’s] juice business.” (Funnily enough Delta uses the same algorithm to balance its books.) “If we have a hurricane or a freeze,” Bippert added, “we can quickly replan the business in 5 or 10 minutes just because we’ve mathematically modeled it.” We call it deceitfully industrial, especially for a product called Simply Orange.”
THEY USED MATH AND SCIENCE, WHICH AS WE KNOW ARE EVIL.
I mean, I guess the argument that’s worth having here is what the meaning of the word ‘natural’ means in current usage - which is, essentially, NOTHING. But come the fuck ON, consumers are not naive lambs who think that because the juice they’re buying on a supermarket shelf says ‘natural’ that it was squeezed by hand into the bottle by a farmer down the street. Especially not those shopping in a supermarket hundreds or thousands of miles from where oranges can be grown.
“In conclusion, if you want that freshly squeezed orange juice experience, buy a juicer.”
Probably the only line in the document that’s not spun bullshit. But here’s the thing: even if I got a juicer? Where the fuck am I going to get fresh oranges? I live in Rhode Island. The bottling plant in Florida is getting better-quality produce than I am because it can be picked at peak ripeness and instantly processed, rather and being picked green, gassed with ethelene to ‘ripen’ it, shipped halfway across the country, and sat on a store shelf - all the while metabolizing its own sugars into less palatable starches and acids because every second it’s off the tree is a second in which it is dying and rotting.
Industrialization of the food process isn’t the evil part of the ‘what is wrong with our current farm systems’ equation. A small, local farm is probably my best bet for tomatoes and strawberries and airy products. Citrus fruit and its products? That shit’s not around here. Shipping it in a shelf-stable form from the place it’s from is a better bet for me. If I’m going to have it at all.
Because remember, back in the 40’s people in New England and even as far south as New York and Washington gave one another oranges AS CHRISTMAS GIFTS because they were such a rare treat. When you pine for a unilateral return to pastoral arcadias of tiny local farms, you gain locality and seasonality of produce but you lose diversity.
Good luck getting your fair trade organic hand-roasted small batch artisinal single-source Guatemalan coffee without industrialization, terrorhippies.