Sunny Delight Is “Designed To Deceive”

Statement of CSPI Executive Director Michael F. Jacobson On The Deceptive Labeling and Marketing Of Sunny Delight Junk Drink


I am pleased to join with the Florida Department of Citrus, the Children’s Foundation, and doctors and nutritionists in speaking out against Sunny Delight.

Sunny Delight is the fake juice from Procter & Gamble, the same company that brought you the fake fat Olestra. There is nothing either sunny or delightful about a junk food that’s dressed up as real fruit juice. But Sunny Delight is not much more than sugar water with negligible amounts of juice and a bit of vitamins added.

Surely no parent would think that giving orange soda to children is the same thing as giving them honest-to-goodness orange juice. But because some supermarkets actually place this product next to real juice and milk in the refrigerated aisle, parents and children alike are led to believe that Sunny Delight is juice. But it’s not. Sunny Delight’s marketing campaign is designed to deceive, and it succeeds.

Sunny Delight is little more than orange soda, minus the bubbles. And considering how cheap its ingredients are, it is outrageous that the pricing of Sunny Delight comes anywhere close to real orange juice, but it does. We found that in several Washington, DC grocery stores, Sunny Delight costs almost as much as Minute Made frozen 100% orange juice, and is actually a little more expensive than Safeway frozen orange juice. And either it has a remarkably high profit margin, or Procter & Gamble has to charge that much so it can afford to pay off retailers to put it in the refrigerated section.

One variety of Sunny Delight advertises itself as a “Florida Style” Tangy Citrus drink. But this product has just about nothing to do with Florida, and it has only marginal amounts of citrus. It might be tangy, but it would be more accurately called “Factory Style,” instead of “Florida Style,” because that is really where this product comes from. A factory. Not fruit.

If ever there were a compelling case for reading the fine print on the ingredients list, this is it. My message to parents is this: If you want to buy juice for yourself and your kids, make sure the label says 100% juice. And frankly, if you want to drink a tangy solution of water, high fructose corn syrup, yellow #5, and some other chemicals, with or without bubbles, save your money and choose one of the cheaper versions.

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