Skip to 0 minutes and 33 secondsIt can be difficult for consumers to make informed choices about the nutritional content and quality of their food and drink. The choice can be especially difficult when trying to choose between two seemingly similar products, like freshly squeezed orange juice and orange juice from concentrate. So how can consumers find trustworthy information to help them compare the quality and nutritional content of different foods? As an example, we will investigate the information available on packaging about the quality and nutritional content of the orange juice in our meal. Oranges are grown all over the world. The main producers of this fresh citrus fruit are the United States of America, Brazil, India, China, and Spain.

Skip to 1 minute and 13 secondsSome countries need to import oranges for freshly squeezed juice, as they don't have suitable growing conditions for citrus fruits. Oranges are needed to prepare both juices, but the production processes are quite different. For freshly squeezed juice, consumers can choose to buy oranges in the shop and squeeze them at home, or they can get fresh orange juice from juicing machines and supermarkets. Because of the minimal processing steps, fresh orange juice tends to have a better flavour. However, the fresh juice needs to be stored in the fridge and has a limited shelf life. Orange juice from concentrate requires some more processing steps. Firstly, the juice is squeezed, then pasteurised to kill any bacteria and microorganisms.

Skip to 1 minute and 56 secondsThe juice is then heated to evaporate off the water, and then compressed to produce the concentrate. The concentrate is then frozen and prepared for transportation. Finally, the concentrate is defrosted and rehydrated to make the final juice product, potentially many miles away from where the oranges were grown and processed. These processing steps ensure that the juice from concentrate has a longer shelf life, and is a cheaper alternative to the fresh juice, due to the reduced transportation costs. The first piece of information consumers need to know is whether the juice they're considering is fresh or from concentrate. Consumers can tell the difference simply by checking the name on the label.

Skip to 2 minutes and 35 secondsOn the label of orange juice from concentrate, it will state, made from concentrate, or partially made from concentrate, while the name freshly squeezed can only be used if the orange juice is not prepared from concentrate. This fresh product must display an expiry date within 14 days from being extracted. Finally, consumers need to know how to compare the nutritional content of the juices. Again, the information is available on the label. Each label contains information about the nutrients inside the product. In fact, the nutritional value of the two juices is fairly similar. The main difference is that fresh orange juice tends to have more vitamin C. But sometimes, if the juice from concentrate was fortified, it may contain even more nutrients.

Skip to 3 minutes and 19 secondsAdding sugar to fruit juices is banned in the European Union, which is reflected in the nutrition claim on the label stating, no added sugars. New EU food labelling rules came into effect in 2014, and from 2016, there is now a legal obligation to provide nutrition information for the majority of prepacked and processed foods. Ultimately, these new rules provide consumers with access to clear, comprehensive, and reliable information to help them make more informed choices about their food. Consumers can use this information to make better purchasing choices to select food they trust to form a balanced diet.

The meal: orange juice

In this video you’ll be introduced to the second case study which will explore the importance of understanding the nutrition and quality of the food we eat, using orange juice as an example.

Focusing on the information available to you (ie on food packaging), this video will explore how you can make informed choices about the nutrition and quality of your food.

Both fresh orange juice and from concentrate have their benefits (despite general perception that fresh orange juice is better). Both types of juice have a place in a balanced diet. Fresh orange juice tastes better and gives you an extra boost of vitamins. Juice from concentrate offers an economical alternative to fresh juices and provides some nutritional value but it loses some of its nutrients during processing (unless it’s fortified, then it could have even more nutrients than fresh juice).

By reading what’s on food packaging, you’ll be able to make a more conscious decision about whether there is a difference between product, and which one is a better option for you.

Please note this video is used for illustrative purposes only.

References

  • Bull, K., Zerdin, K. and Howe, E. (2004). ‘The effect of high pressure processing on the microbial, physical and chemical properties of Valencia and Navel orange juice’. Innovative Food Science & Emerging Technologies, 5(2), pp. 135-149. doi:10.1016/j.ifset.2003.11.005

  • Aschoff, K., Kaufmann, S. and Kalkan, O. (2015). In vitro bioaccessibility of carotenoids, flavonoids, and vitamin C from differently processed oranges and orange juices [Citrus sinensis (L.) Osbeck]. Journal of agricultural and food chemistry, 63(2), pp. 578-587. doi:10.1021/jf505297t.

  • The Council of the European Union (2001) Council Directive 2001/112/EC 2001 (Accessed on 24 May 2018).

  • The Council of the European Union (2012) Council approves new rules for fruit juices(Accessed on 30 May 2018).

  • Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (2016) Citrus Fruit - Fresh and Processed, Statistical Bulletin. (Accessed on 23 July 2018).

Share this video:

This video is from the free online course:

Trust in Our Food: Understanding Food Supply Systems

EIT Food