In our Supermarket “Switch this for That” series, today we are looking at Additive Free Apple Juice.

I was standing in a queue to pay at a department store the other day and I saw a grandmother and her grandson in front of me.  I could tell that the grandmother was keen to buy her little grandson a treat.  Every grandma wants to spoil their grandchildren right?!

On either side of the aisle it was lined with lollies and juices.  From her conversations with her little grandson I could hear that she was very conscious of buying only a small treat.  All that was on offer was bags of lollies – medium and large.  Ideally, she was just looking to buy one lolly.  You could see that she was faced with a dilemma.  The smallest of the packs were chosen and the grandson was encouraged to share with others.

However, when it came to picking up the apple juice, I could see that a quick cursory glance was given to the front of the label.

I imagined the internal dialogue to be “Yep it says apple, has a picture of an apple, apple juice is good for you.  Great, we will take one of those.”

I wondered how many people actually turn the products over and look at the ingredients when they are buying juices?

Does everyone think that juices are just the fruit that is juiced?

I can tell you after reviewing thousands and thousands of products on supermarket shelves, there aren’t many juices that are just 100% juice!

Most of them come with a cocktail of additives.

Let’s take a look at the Pop Top apple juice and an alternative you can switch to.


Water, Reconstituted Apple Juice (30%), Sugar, Food Acid, Preservatives (202, 223)


Organic apples 100%

What is the main difference between these two apple juices?

There are actually quite a lot of differences between the two.  The first one has the first ingredient as water.  This means that the biggest ingredient in this pop top juice is water that has had reconstituted apple juice (30%) added to it, then sugar and preservatives.

If we compare it to the second option, there is just one ingredient – apples!  What should be in apple juice?  In my opinion, apple juice should contain only one ingredient – apples!!

Why is the first option SO popular?

The packaging of the first is attractive to lots of little kids…they love popping the top and closing it again.   It is also cheaper than the second alternative provided.

Why is it so much cheaper?

Hmmm…because you are paying for a product that has 70% LESS apples than the one on the right hand side.   I am not a fan of giving my kids juice.  They drink water most of the time and juices are saved for special treats.  However, if I was going to give them apple juice, I would be giving them 100% apple juice.  Not apple juice that is mostly water and has a dash of apple juice, sugar and preservatives added to it.

Have you tasted the difference?  Nothing tastes as good as 100% apple juice!

What are preservatives 202 and 223?

Preservative 202 is known as Potassium Sorbate and is usually petroleum derived [1]  You will normally find this preservative in foods such as confectionary, icing and jams.

Preservative 223 is known as Sodium Metabisulphite – a synthetic substance.  You will normally find this preservative in foods such as bread, cheese, dried fruit, jams and wine.

Why are these Preservatives used?

These preservatives are use to help food from spoiling from bacteria and moulds and the like.   It delays the change in colour or texture of foods, thereby making them last longer.  You will normally find this preservative in drinks, baked goods, dressings, yoghurts etc.

What are the potential effects of these Preservatives?

Potassium sorbate (202) and Sodium Metabisulphite (223) together have the potential to cause the following symptoms [1]:

  • Allergic reactions
  • Hayfever
  • Asthma
  • Headaches
  • Hyperactivity
  • Skin irritations
  • Stomach upsets

Both of these preservatives are prohibited in food for infants!  Have you seen any infants drinking these pop top apple juices? I know I have.

It is so easy to make this one simple switch!

Reward the manufacturers that are doing the right thing! Manufacturers that are using real food ingredients and putting health before profit!

[1] Chemical Maze, Bill Statham