Naked (Juice) and Afraid

As we all know by now, I’m a (mostly) vegan. I don’t eat any meat or cheese and I avoid products containing eggs or dairy as much as I can. It’s really important for vegans to be aware of what they eat – how their food is cooked, the ingredients that they are made of, and the nutrients within them. This makes food packaging a vegan’s best friend and worst nightmare. We have to rely on labeling and hope that it is accurate and honest. Unfortunately, sometimes it isn’t.

Naked Juice is a beverage produced by PepsiCo. It has been marketed as an all-natural drink containing only fruits and vegetables. People across the country enjoyed this beverage daily, believing that they were making the healthy, responsible choice in their hydration needs. Eventually, the truth that this beverage contained genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and other synthetic products was revealed. Consumers were outraged by this dishonesty and deception. This is particularly a problem for the Naked Juice consumer market segment who are often health conscious and natural food enthusiasts. Many of us try to avoid containing these chemicals. A subsequent class-action lawsuit was filed and is heading in the direction of trial.

So on a larger scale, why is this an issue? This is a problem because consumers trust the labels that they read. This isn’t just about vegans or health enthusiasts or environmental activists. This is about regular, everyday consumers being lied to about what they are putting in their bodies. As consumers, do we have any choice, other than trusting these labels? I’m afraid our hands are tied. Almost all of us are not in a position to grow and cook every item that we eat. (But how awesome would that be??) Rather, we rely on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and these corporations to tell us what we eat. Without transparency and complete honesty, how can we believe anything that they tell us?

So what’s the alternative? I have a juicer. It’s awesome. (It wastes a lot of the fruit or vegetable actually so I use it in moderation.) Here are some great recipes! I usually just go into my fridge, find what will go bad soon if I don’t eat it, and throw it in the juicer.


5 thoughts on “Naked (Juice) and Afraid

  1. Reblogged this on Diana's Kitchen Laboratory and commented:
    Oh boy, so many topics are mentioned in this article. GMO’s, FDA and nutrition labels, nutrition of soft drinks,….

    Here’s my two cents for those that are overwhelmed with all the information.

    GMO’s contribute hugely to the state of the population, whether good or bad. Feeding the world is continually a challenge. Even though the USA is seen as a well fed country, there still exists a LARGE population that suffers from malnutrition and starvation. Not to mention all the other campaigns for solving world hunger. What’s the solution? Some say GMO’s are the answer. GMO’s saved uncountable lives with the introduction of carotenoids (Vitamin A) into rice. Are they environmentally safe/sustainable? It depends on who you’re asking. There are good things to say and bad things to say about it. Just like any other topic these days.

    I’d like to take a moment to talk about juices…
    If you see “juice from concentrate” in the ingredients list, that probably means that your “all natural” drink is sugar packed. Yes, it can be all fruit juice and still have way too much sugar in it. You can make it yourself, wanna know how? Take fruit, boil it, strain it, and boil it until you get a nice thick syrup. That’s concentrated fruit juice with all the sugar in 1/8 of the volume. Beware of drinks that market themselves are healthy and all natural.

  2. I love your sentence about labels being a best friend and a problem.

    I had no idea about Naked juice…And Bucknell sells them! Grrrrrr.

    Here is the statement from Pepsico:
    The ‘all natural’ claim on our label described the fruits and vegetables in the bottle—not the vitamin boosts added to some Naked beverages. Naked juice and smoothies will continue to be labeled “non-GMO,” and until there is more detailed regulatory guidance around the word “natural” —we’ve chosen not to use “All Natural” on our packaging.

    Convincing? Or weasely? Why isn’t weasely a word?

  3. I second what Jordi said. It is rather shocking to both hear that Naked Juices is owned by Pepsi AND that it is not actually “all natural” as the label states. Being in a fraternity at Bucknell, I have given a half-ass (excuse my French) effort at eating healthy. I attempted to be a vegetarian for two weeks here and failed miserably. Although this is true, I am excited for post-grad life and my ability to cook and eat organic food in my kitchen (living in a party house does not exactly give me the most sanitary of kitchens). One thing I have been very aware of though (after taking Nancy White’s “Mindful Consumption”), is where the origin of a food product comes from. I try and limit the distances of where my food purchases come from when I go shopping at home. I intend on continuing this practice in the future and hopefully organizations such as Red Tomatoes will aid my purchasing of local, organic produce.

  4. It’s really unbelievable the number of different products vended by PepsiCo. On their website, PepsiCo owns and operates with the following brands: Starbucks Ready-To-Drink Beverages, Tropicana, Naked and Propel.

    Can we even trust that our Tropicana O.J. is as healthy as it sounds? Tropicana is available year-round, even during cold weather when fresh oranges are not ready for consumption. The company advertises “Juice 365 Days a Year.” Excellent.

    The Tropicana Peach Orange Punch (while delicious) is heavily sugared and contains just 5% juice. What’s the other 95%?

  5. I think your post ties great to the Food Inc. documentary that we just watched. Now more than ever, consumers are becoming more conscious about what foods they are putting in their bodies. I try to eat pretty healthy myself, and I hate the idea that even when I think I’m eating healthy, there is a possibility that the food labels are not accurate. We are at these company’s mercy because we have no idea what is in their products, and we have to rely on them telling us the ingredients in them. I would hope that Naked Juice is the only brand guilty of this, but I find that hard to believe.

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