For years, juice has been off limits for consumers who avoid sugar. Juice drinks, which generally contain very little actual juice and high sugar content, were certainly a no-no for these consumers. Then even 100% juice fell out of favor, despite a health halo, as warnings about sugar mounted, especially when it came to children. Sales of 100% OJ have declined for almost two decades, before the Covid pandemic brought a short reprieve. PepsiCo even sold off a majority stake of its Tropicana business to private equity firm PAI partners in 2021 to focus on higher growth products.
But there is now some innovation to keep an eye on, with major juice brand Tropicana recently launching a Zero Sugar line of lemonade and fruit punch juice drinks with no artificial sweeteners. The products contain either 3% or 5% juice and are sweetened with stevia instead of sugar. Tropicana marketers pitch the new Zero Sugar line as “guilt-free.”
I don’t usually review products, but I’ve tried the new Tropicana Zero Sugar line and the drinks are good. This is surely due to advancements in no-calorie sweetener technology.
Tropicana is no stranger to stevia, having launched a stevia-sweetened product called Trop50 way back in 2009 just after the FDA made no objection to the natural sweetener’s use in food. The lower-sugar product (50% less than pure OJ) became a bright spot for the brand’s OJ lineup — but it still contained sugar. Trop50 addressed not only the sugar barrier, but also an aversion to artificial sweeteners expressed by some consumers (whether justified or not).
Stevia technology — and sweetener systems in general — have come a long way since. Tropicana’s line of ...
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