Sunday, July 12, 2015

Trader Joe's Organic Orange Strawberry Banana Juice

Here's a quick quiz to help you figure out whether you're ready to make it as a purveyor of specialty grocery items.

You have decided to introduce a product called "Organic Orange Strawberry Banana Juice." What should its ingredients be? Choose as many as you think appropriate.

A. Orange.

B. Apple.

C. Grape.

D. Pineapple.

E. Strawberry.

F. Banana.

Did you select A, E, and F? Ha! You fool! You'll never make it in the business. At least you won't get a job as a product developer at Trader Joe's.

You see, at Trader Joe's, they understand that orange-strawberry-banana juice should actually contain more apple, grape, and pineapple juice than strawberry or banana. That's why the ingredients are listed, from most to least, in the order shown above. Why? Probably because apple, grape, and pineapple are cheaper than strawberry and banana, and as long as the resulting blend is vaguely fruity, the stupid American consumer will never notice the difference.

Well, this stupid American consumer did. There is no difficulty tasting orange and banana here, but I defy anybody to drink a glass of this--without knowing its name--and identify strawberry as a principal ingredient.

Worse, the ingredients that one does taste are generic, to the point of being uncertain whether they're real. Sure, there's something orangey here, but I was left furrowing my brow and wondering whether I was tasting actual orange juice or some unknown liquid that had been chemically enhanced to resemble orange juice. Same with the banana. They are about as far from tasting like fresh-squeezed fruit as they can get and still be identifiable as orange and banana.

The result is not undrinkably horrid. But stop for a minute, close your eyes, call to mind what a really good orange tastes like to eat.

Now a strawberry.

Now a banana.

Got it?

OK, now imagine those three being released on your taste buds all at once.

Do you have that sensory experience firmly in your imagination?

Great. Now take a swig of this TJ's blend, and see how it compares. I promise you, there is no emotional state possible from this experiment other than grave disappointment.

Will I buy it again? 

No. I would buy in a heartbeat a carton of actual high-quality juices from these three fruits. But that is so not what this stuff is.

Nina's View

Yet another TJ's juice blend FAIL. It certainly seems like a triumph of hope over experience that Bob keeps buying and bringing these concoctions home.

The worst thing about this juice, even worse than the incredible vanishing strawberry, is the nasty, almost chemical taste of the banana contribution.

I took three sips of this juice—each time but one saying to myself "Ick. It can't actually be this bad, can it? Let me try again." I then turned the remainder of my glass over to Bob. I see no reason to ever insult my tastebuds with this stuff again.

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