CAPSULE REPORT: Fruit juice water is a new entry into the bottled water category: Tropicana Fruit Squeeze is 13% real fruit juice in bottled water with added sweetener (sucralose), providing a refreshing “juice very lite” drink for just 20 calories per 8-ounce serving. We especially enjoyed the lemon and grapefruit flavors as natural-tasting alternatives to lemonade and grapefruit juice; and added some glamour via lime and mint to make “mocktails.”
Just when you thought it was safe to go into the water aisle...there’s another new category of waters. Or is it juices? We’ve put this review of Tropicana Fruit Squeeze in the Juice Section of our product reviews, because the waters are so juicy, they don’t belong in the Bottled Waters section with Fiji, Volvic, Voss and the lesser-known (but very delicious) mineral waters we review.
There are different categories of flavored water:
Water with natural flavor but no sweetener, such as Hint®, Metromint®, O® Water and Saratoga Splash (calorie-free)
Water with natural flavor and sweetener, divided into those that are calorie free and sweetened with sucralose/Splenda, such as Aquafina® FlavorSplash, Fruit2O, Nestlé Pure Life Natural Fruit Flavored Water Beverage and Dasani Lemon, Raspberry and Strawberry flavors; and those that are sweetened with sugar like O Infused Water (25 calories per 8-ounce serving)
Flavored endurance and energy water, such as Propel
Vitamin-enhanced flavored “water,” [quotes ours] such Glaceau and Virgin Drinks’ Fusion, which are not calorie-free waters but fruit juice-based drinks that use “water” for marketing purposes (50 calories per 8-ounce serving)
Fruit juice “water,” such as Tropicana Fruit Squeeze. The key differentiator is a high percentage of real fruit juice. Tropicana is 13% juice, and is sold not with the flavored waters, but in the non-refrigerated juice aisle. It also has no added sugar, but uses sucralose for extra sweetness.
Is fruit juice water juice, or is it water? Since water is a hot category and juice sales are flat, marketing the product as water makes sense. But it’s definitely juice. Leave an open bottle of flavored water in your car or gym bag for a few days or a few weeks, come back to drink it, and it’s fine. Leave an open bottle of Tropicana Fruit Squeeze unrefrigerated for a few days and it is spoiled and undrinkable.
There already is a category called Juice Lite, with less sugar/fewer calories than regular juice. Since Juice Lite Lite sounds a bit silly silly, Fruit Juice Water it is!
Tropicana Fruit Squeeze is available in four flavors:
The beverages taste like artfully diluted juice, and are very well-crafted. You won’t mistake them for water: They’re juice lite lite. The Fruit Squeezes are sweet, light and extremely refreshing. The Pink Grapefruit and Summer Lemon tasted as natural to us as the real thing—in fact, we actually prefer the Fruit Squeeze to a regular glass of grapefruit juice or a lemonade, because of the lightness.
The attractive calorie count—20 calories per 8-ounce serving—is achieved by artfully combining juice concentrates* with filtered water, adding some natural flavorings and sweetening with sucralose (the ingredient in Splenda®).
One of our favorite flavors,
Tropicana Fruit Squeeze Pink
Grapefruit. Photo by B.A. Van Sise.
*What’s in it? Filtered water, apple juice concentrate, grape juice concentrate, citric acid (a preservative), natural flavor, sucralose; a coloring agent like beta-carotene (yellow), cochineal (orange), red 40, and the concentrate of the “name” juice: lemon, lime, tangerine, raspberry and ruby red grapefruit juice concentrates. There are 25 mg sodium, 5g total carbs, 4g sugars, 0g fat, cholesterol and protein.
We preferred the Pink Grapefruit and Summer Lemon flavors; we’re not sure why tangerine was chosen instead of the famous Tropicana orange juice, but we longed for the flavor of orange over the tangerine. Lime Raspberry, although made of natural flavors, seemed less natural to us than the single-note citrus choices. But everyone will have his or her own favorite(s).
Most of us don’t get close to the recommended 9 to 13 eight-ounce glasses of water per day. We’d have to program ourselves to drink one glass every hour of the traditional work day. Even for the most enticing beverage in the world, that would be a chore. Add to that the bad news that the coffee, tea and cola many of us drink is anti-hydration: Caffeine is a mild diuretic,† leaching water from the body (hence all of those runs to the bathroom).
†Caffeine increases the excretion of water and sodium from the kidneys, resulting in a net water loss. Since it is a very mild diuretic, the stimulating properties of caffeine more than make up for slight net eventual water loss.
Other beverages besides water are hydrating. Juice contains a high percentage of water, although fruit juice generally comes with a high tally of calories and sugar carbs: An 8-ounce glass of fruit can have 130 calories, 30 from sugar. Tropicana Fruit Squeeze, on the other hand, has 20 calories, 4 from sugar. Just think: you can drink seven of them for the caloric value of a glass of regular juice. And, like diet soda and nonfat milk, you can learn to find them just as satisfying.
In addition to drinking them straight from the bottle, you can romance the Fruit Squeezes into 20-calorie “mocktails,” as you’ll see in the next section.
Pour your favorite Fruit Squeeze from the bottle into a collins glass or a wine goblet, add your favorite fresh citrus and an optional herb garnish. Top with a splash of diet tonic water or diet ginger ale if you like.
Tropicana Fruit Squeeze
Citrus Wedge: Lemon or lime (add grapefruit or orange for an extra few calories)
Herb Garnish: Basil, mint, rosemary
Diet tonic water or ginger ale
Straight or mocktail, we’re happy to have this new juice drink to squeeze.
TROPICANA FRUIT SQUEEZE
Juicy Water in Lime Raspberry, Pink Grapefruit, Summer Lemon and Tropical Tangerine
Suggested Retail Price
Suggested Retail Price
At supermarkets, club stores, convenience stores, and other retailers nationwide.
Prices and flavor availability are verified at publication, but are subject to change.
Photo by B.A. Van Sise.
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