Annals of sweetness

Now showing on tv, a brief ad spot “Tea Party with Dad & Mr. Bentley” for Minute Maid Premium Fruit Punch, with the — um — punch line:

Minute Maid is born from the goodness of fruit.

(You can watch the commercial here.)

I was immediately struck by the care with which the ad is framed so as not to claim that there’s any fruit at all in the punch. In fact, there is some, but not a lot, and not any of the citrus fruit juices that the Minute Maid company is famous for.

From the company:

Mix things up. Minute Maid Fruit Punch combines a number of delectable fruit flavors [so far: just fruit flavors] together in a refreshing, delicious blend that’s made with [but not of or from] real fruit juice.

(Note the word fruit 3 times in 26 words of copy.) The fine print:

A 5% juice blend of grape, pineapple, pear and apple juices from concentrate. [Note that the label picture is accurate as to the fruits involved.]

Contains pure filtered water, high fructose corn syrup, grape and pineapple juices from concentrate, less than 1% of: pear and apple juices from concentrate, natural flavors, citric acid (provides tartness), sucralose, grape skin extract (for color).

So it’s almost all water and high fructose corn syrup, with a whiff of grape and pineapple juice concentrates, plus a whisper of pear and apple juice concentrates. It couldn’t be called fruit juice, but it can be called fruit punch, though I suspect that most consumers don’t appreciate the subtlety; most people would make fruit punch by mixing together an assortment of flavorful fruit juices (many years ago I made a fine rum punch in just this way), not fully appreciating that Minute Maid’s product is sugar water flavored by a little bit of fruit stuff.

(An 8 fl oz glass of the stuff has 25 gm of sweetener and 90 calories.)

Well, it could be worse. It could be like sweetened breakfast cereals — right up to the fictitious cereal “Chocolate Frosted Sugar Bombs” mocked in a Calvin and Hobbes cartoon I posted about on 3/19/16.

2 Responses to “Annals of sweetness”

  1. Robert Coren Says:

    Your parenthetical on the use of “made with” reminds me of an entertaining passage from Dorothy Sayers’ Murder Must Advertise, in which Peter Wimsey, who has taken an undercover job at an ad agency, explains to his sister the difference between “made from” and “made with”.

  2. Julian C. Lander Says:

    I associate the term “fruit punch” with powdered drink mixes such as Kool-Aid. Never, even when I was a child, did I believe they contained a significant amount of fruit juice. (And, to be honest, I don’t much like fruit juice. If I were only to consider taste, I would go for the sugar any time.) Of course I didn’t much care about such things when I was a child. Thank you, Robert Coren, for the Lord Peter Wimsey reference.

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