You've probably seen the commercials -- Jane Krakowski struts around her apartment wearing a form-fitting dress, blushing at her girlfriends' suggestions that she's "had work done." But no, she didn't have plastic surgery. She looks great because she's been drinking low-calorie juice.
That's the premise behind Trop50's latest commercial, which advertises that the PepsiCo product -- a "vitamin-enhanced juice beverage" -- has 50 percent fewer calories than the leading orange juice. But here's the thing: Does it taste just like real orange juice, or is Trop50 compromising something? Our team of editors conducted a taste test to find out.
Before we get to the results, here are the facts:
Trop50: 10 grams of sugar, 50 calories per 8 oz. serving
Official motto: Be 100% Fabulous With 50% Less Sugar And Calories
How it's touted: "No artificial sweeteners. Full day supply of vitamin C and a good source of antioxidant vitamin E. "
The fine print: "Naturally sweetened with PureVia. PureVia is the highest quality, all-natural extract of the stevia plant that enhances the sweetness of real fruit juice, naturally." What's that mean? Well, stevia is a plant in the Chrysanthemum family whose extracts are used as natural sweeteners. Stevia often has a strong aftertaste, but Trop50 claims that PureVia does not. We'll see about that ...
The bottom line: Sure, this juice isn't sweetened with "artificial sweeteners." But unlike pure orange juice, it is sweetened with something that's not naturally found in orange juice.
Tropicana Pure Premium: 22 grams of sugar, 110 calories per 8 oz. serving
How it's touted: "The perfect combination of taste and nutrition! Tropicana Pure Premium is 100% pure and natural orange juice, squeezed from fresh-picked oranges and never from concentrate. No wonder it's the #1 orange juice brand."
The fine print: There is none. It contains 100 percent pure and natural orange juice, never from concentrate.
The bottom line: This isn't fresh squeezed, but it's as close as you're going to get from Tropicana.
Twenty five editors blind-tasted the two juices, side by side, and (drumroll) ...
- 92 percent of our tasters were able to clearly identify that Trop50 was the low-calorie juice.
- 94 percent of our tasters preferred the classic Tropicana Pure Premium.
Here's what our tasters thought:
Trop50: "Tastes like Tang." "I called it before I even tasted it! It has a lighter color." "It's not as good, but I would still drink this." "This tastes like Sunny D." "Tastes watered down. It's closer to a soft drink than juice." "There's a very strong artificial sweet flavor -- almost offensively sweet."
Tropicana Pure Premium: "Richer, fuller." "Nice and creamy in taste and texture." "Worth the extra calories!" "This even looks yummier than the other one."
IN SUMMARY: Trop50 in no way tastes like the real thing, but if you're trying to lose a few pounds it's a palatable juice drink (unless you're super sensitive to sweeteners, in which case you may want to steer clear). If you're a picky OJ drinker, stick with the Tropicana Pure Premium.
What do you think of Trop50? Leave us a comment below.