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Mon Feb 4, 2013, 07:52 PM

Just WTF are we buying in our supermarkets?

Who Wants a Nice Tall Glass of Coca-Cola's Algorithmic Orange Juice?



Coca-Cola won't say how it makes its best-selling Simply Orange orange juice, but one thing is for sure: It's not so simple. A new investigation by Bloomberg Businessweek shows that the Coke-owned orange juice brand that's billed as less processed version of Tropicana is in fact a hyper-engineered and dauntingly industrial product. The factory in Florida where the bulk of Coke's orange juice products are made sounds less like a bucolic grove where natural things grow than an oil refinery where natural things go to die. And yes, that includes the "Grove Made" variety.

The explanation behind Coke's complicated new orange juice scheme is nothing short of ironic. Basically, all of their customers are realizing the soda is really bad for you, so demand is shifting to healthy -- or at least healthy-seeming -- alternatives like juice. Coke also figured out that people are willing to pay 25 percent more for juice that's not processed, that is, not made from concentrate. Enter Simply Orange. It is indeed just oranges, but boy have those oranges been through hell and back. Coke calls the process Black Book, because it won't tell anyone how it works. The consultant that designed the Black Book formula will, however.

Bob Cross of Revenue Analytics explained to Bloomberg Businessweek that Coke relies on a deeply complex algorithm for every step of the juice-making process. The algorithm is designed to accept any contingency that might affect manufacturing, from weather patterns to shifts in the global economy, and make adjustments to the manufacturing process accordingly. Built into the model is a breakdown of the 600-plus flavors that are in orange juice that are tweaked throughout the year to keep flavor consistent and in line with consumer tastes. Coke even sucks the oxygen out of the juice when they send it to be mixed so that they can keep it around for a year or more to balance out other batches. Doug Bippert, Coke's vice president of business acceleration, calls it "a flight simulator for juice business." (Funnily enough Delta uses the same algorithm to balance its books.) "If we have a hurricane or a freeze," Bippert added, "we can quickly replan the business in 5 or 10 minutes just because we've mathematically modeled it." We call it deceitfully industrial, especially for a product called Simply Orange.

http://www.theatlanticwire.com/business/2013/01/who-wants-nice-tall-glass-coca-colas-algorithmic-orange-juice/61667/

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Arrow 53 replies Author Time Post
Reply Just WTF are we buying in our supermarkets? (Original post)
MrScorpio Feb 2013 OP
tblue Feb 2013 #1
Cleita Feb 2013 #2
jberryhill Feb 2013 #5
Cleita Feb 2013 #6
jberryhill Feb 2013 #19
Cleita Feb 2013 #20
JaneyVee Feb 2013 #7
Cleita Feb 2013 #8
JaneyVee Feb 2013 #9
Cleita Feb 2013 #12
Nay Feb 2013 #47
Cleita Feb 2013 #48
Peregrine Feb 2013 #34
msongs Feb 2013 #3
MrScorpio Feb 2013 #4
jberryhill Feb 2013 #16
Curmudgeoness Feb 2013 #21
Robb Feb 2013 #24
Curmudgeoness Feb 2013 #29
jberryhill Feb 2013 #39
jberryhill Feb 2013 #35
KamaAina Feb 2013 #38
jberryhill Feb 2013 #40
HockeyMom Feb 2013 #10
Recursion Feb 2013 #11
jberryhill Feb 2013 #18
KamaAina Feb 2013 #41
marions ghost Feb 2013 #13
high density Feb 2013 #14
Earth_First Feb 2013 #15
mathematic Feb 2013 #17
Codeine Feb 2013 #22
Robb Feb 2013 #23
Apophis Feb 2013 #25
flamingdem Feb 2013 #26
Tab Feb 2013 #27
smackd Feb 2013 #28
Peregrine Feb 2013 #32
jberryhill Feb 2013 #36
Ian David Feb 2013 #30
NYC Liberal Feb 2013 #31
Kalidurga Feb 2013 #33
lunasun Feb 2013 #50
DeSwiss Feb 2013 #37
jberryhill Feb 2013 #43
PDJane Feb 2013 #44
RB TexLa Feb 2013 #42
killbotfactory Feb 2013 #45
jberryhill Feb 2013 #49
Rex Feb 2013 #53
freshwest Feb 2013 #46
catchnrelease Feb 2013 #51
Niceguy1 Feb 2013 #52

Response to MrScorpio (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 07:56 PM

1. Where is there a list of all Coke products?

Because I'd like to never buy any again.

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Response to MrScorpio (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 07:58 PM

2. I buy a bag of naval oranges at Trader Joe's.

The bagged ones aren't so perfect as to end up being sold in a supermarket. The sweetness and taste vary. I eat them whole if I'm too lazy to juice them. That way I know for sure what I'm getting is an orange as Mother Nature mostly intended. I got suspicious of the brand types a long time ago.

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Response to Cleita (Reply #2)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 08:04 PM

5. "Mother nature" never intended for there to be navel oranges


Every navel orange is a clone. They have to be cloned, because they are sterile.

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Response to jberryhill (Reply #5)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 08:08 PM

6. Oh get off your high horse. A lot of our agricultural produce and fruit are cloned

as are many of our ornamental plants. But they are still grown in soil and watered. If there is no chemical fertilizers added, then they are pretty much good to eat. They aren't created in a lab and then manufactured from mostly chemicals in a factory.

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Response to Cleita (Reply #6)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 09:15 PM

19. The article doesn't say anything about chemicals

The article says it is "just oranges". The point is that Coca-Cola analyzes the composition of the "god intended" juice from fruit grown in various orchards year-round to maintain flavor consistency.

Why anyone is buying juice in a big honking plastic container in the first place is a good question, but the article doesn't say anything about chemicals. In fact, the article states the opposite.

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Response to jberryhill (Reply #19)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 09:19 PM

20. It doesn't have to if it's mass produced by Coca-Cola.

If you believe they are testing oranges all the time for flavor, I have a bridge to sell you in Brooklyn. Those companies have been using chemical flavor enhancers as long as I've been alive and thats more than half a century.

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Response to Cleita (Reply #2)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 08:08 PM

7. I'm with you. I buy alot of fruit and juice it myself.

I love to juice mixed fruit then I add half seltzer. Refreshing and I can make ALOT for about the price of 1 container of OJ. $5 worth of produce & seltzer makes me about 3 OJ containers worth of juice. I also share your love of Trader Joe's.

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Response to JaneyVee (Reply #7)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 08:12 PM

8. TJ's may be our salvation.

On the rare occasions I have to go to a supermarket, I can almost smell the Monsanto in the produce aisles. The packaged food too seems like it's been in warehouse forever before being put on the shelf. The boxes and packages have "smells". There really is a difference. I can't even eat a Campbell's Soup anymore after eating TJ's soups and that goes for their canned goods as well.

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Response to Cleita (Reply #8)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 08:20 PM

9. Definitely. And their prices are really good because TJs has its own brand.

For example, I'll buy cereal for $2 box as opposed to popular name brands in other stores that cost $6 box with far less quality taste. Their food is delicious & mostly all natural & organic.

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Response to JaneyVee (Reply #9)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 08:37 PM

12. Yes, I noticed that too. My grocery bill has always been less than

the markets when I started shopping there and that is without all the coupons and discount cards gimmickry.

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Response to Cleita (Reply #8)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 10:57 PM

47. You know, I used to love Campbell's soups (esp. tomato, cr of mushroom) but now I can't stand

them! They taste awful! I'll have to go to Trader Joe's.

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Response to Nay (Reply #47)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 11:03 PM

48. Their chicken noodle soup is really good. It tastes homemade. n/t

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Response to Cleita (Reply #2)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 10:16 PM

34. When it comes to fruits and vegies

There is no such thing as natural. They all have been selectively bred by humans over the centuries. Make them juicier, greener, tangier, yada yada yada.

I only eat natural bananas. Small, thick skin, fibrous fruit, large seeds, very little fruit. They taste like crap, but they're natural.

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Response to MrScorpio (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 08:02 PM

3. so is there evidence this product is bad for your health?

not fresh squeezed, to be sure.
does it have added colors, flavorings, dyes, non-food chemicals that make it toxic?
"processed" means you cut an orange in half and use an old fashioned glass reaming tool, just like the one grandma used, or it can mean run through a bunch of electrically run machines, so "processed" is not inherently bad

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Response to msongs (Reply #3)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 08:04 PM

4. I think that the point of the article is that no one really knows

Coke won't tell you one way or the other.

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Response to MrScorpio (Reply #4)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 09:07 PM

16. Then why does the article say

"It is indeed just oranges"

The fact that wine from a given vineyard varies from year to year is a function of the weather in that location in a given year.

It sounds like they change their blend based on analysis of flavor variables in the oranges to maintain taste consistency across the multiple climates and conditions where they source their oranges.

How can you read an article that itself says "It is indeed just oranges" and conclude that nobody knows what is in it? Obviously the author claims to know what is in it, and asserts that it is "just oranges". Is there some source which claims it isn't? Because this article doesn't advance that claim.

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Response to jberryhill (Reply #16)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 09:38 PM

21. The one and only thing that bothered me in the article

was that they actually have a way to save juice for a year to be used if needed, just by "removing oxygen". I am not sure how this works, but that is the one thing that kinda turns my stomach.....although it may be a natural was to preserve it????

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Response to Curmudgeoness (Reply #21)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 09:48 PM

24. See also: canning.

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Response to Robb (Reply #24)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 09:56 PM

29. Ah, so it is.

I think. I have never canned, so I didn't know if there were any preservative involved. But that makes sense.

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Response to Curmudgeoness (Reply #29)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 10:34 PM

39. "Rot" is oxidation

Oxygen does two things:

(1) it oxidizes other chemicals (such as turning iron into rust)

(2) it feeds aerobic micro-organisms

I drink more wine than orange juice, and if you do too, then using one of those vacuum pump cork thingies can keep it from breathing too long if you aren't going to drink the entire bottle in one night. The seals aren't perfect, so if you really get picky about storing opened wine, you can use a nitrogen or argon preservation system that fills the void in the bottle with an inert gas.

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Response to Curmudgeoness (Reply #21)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 10:20 PM

35. I dunno why that is stomach-turning

Bubbling nitrogen through it under agitation is the typical method for removing dissolved oxygen from aqueous solutions. If you have a problem with nitrogen, then I hope you don't like breathing.

Drinking orange juice year round in all climates is not a natural thing for humans to do. The peak growing season is three months. Prior to extensive engineering of oranges (such as the "natural" navel oranges mentioned above) and a buttload of other technology, oranges were not a widespread component of human diet.

There is nothing natural about eating oranges in February.

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Response to jberryhill (Reply #35)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 10:33 PM

38. "There is nothing natural about eating oranges in February."

Depends where you live. This is (or would be, if not for last month's freeze ) peak orange season in California (and Florida, too, I guess).

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Response to KamaAina (Reply #38)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 10:35 PM

40. Yeah... I meant to include a geographic qualification

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Response to MrScorpio (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 08:24 PM

10. Allergic to citrus and live in Florida

Last time I had an orange (picked from a tree), my lips were on fire and had to wash my mouth out with cold water for half an hour. Never again. As a kid, I would break out in hives. This was far worse than that.

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Response to MrScorpio (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 08:34 PM

11. That algorithm sounds more about the supply chain than the production

*shrug* that kind of stuff is the price of having national food brands, which may not be a worthwhile price to pay, but still

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Response to Recursion (Reply #11)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 09:10 PM

18. In a non-biodegradable package no less

Buying something as transient as orange juice in a non-reusable package which will last forever is stupid in its own right.

So, anyone who would think twice about buying this stuff based on Coca-Cola varying their blend based on source conditions is already not doing a whole lot of thinking.

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Response to jberryhill (Reply #18)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 10:35 PM

41. It is at least recyclable

here, anyway.

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Response to MrScorpio (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 08:52 PM

13. Another "food substance"

I call it. I don't elevate it to the level of food.

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Response to MrScorpio (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 08:56 PM

14. So Coke has found a scientific process to making megatons profitable orange juice

This surprises or disgusts us because...?

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Response to MrScorpio (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 09:00 PM

15. I gave up drinking soda drinks high sugar energy drinks etc. during the new year...

I had horrible withdrawl symptoms.

Symptoms that were akin to quitting smoking actually.

Irritability, headaces, inability to concentrate. They passed, but holy hell that was a tough two weeks.

In that time, I have managed to lose 8 pounds in addition to a lower carbohydrate diet.

I had my first soda over the weekend; I couldn't finish it.

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Response to MrScorpio (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 09:10 PM

17. Anything but algorithms!

I'm dumb and uneducated and I'm afraid of algorithms.

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Response to mathematic (Reply #17)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 09:44 PM

22. It is indeed the silliest excuse for a scary buzzword ever. nt

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Response to MrScorpio (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 09:46 PM

23. I need a name for this emotion, I'm appalled and impressed at the same time.

Astounding.

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Response to MrScorpio (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 09:48 PM

25. Gross.

 

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Response to MrScorpio (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 09:48 PM

26. barf. this kind of product makes me appreciate Whole Foods

At least they are somewhat accountable for their products.

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Response to MrScorpio (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 09:51 PM

27. The problem is that batches of oranges are so varied

Time of year, weather, etc. all affect the taste and quality. The challenge for an orange juice manufacturer is to even it out, so every bottle of (say) Simple Orange is consistent in taste with the last bottle you got. If they didn't try to keep it balanced, then each bottle you got would be a crapshoot, taste-wise.

Mind you, I don't mind the variety, if it ensures fresh juice, but most of America likes consistency in their crap.

And that said, Simply Orange is better than the cans of frozen Tropicana or Minute Maid I got as a kid.

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Response to MrScorpio (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 09:51 PM

28. i feel stupid

but I'm not sure what I'm supposed to be worried about in this story...

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Response to smackd (Reply #28)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 10:09 PM

32. Ditto

So what. They maintain a consistency. OMG, franken-juice. We're all going to die!

Actually I thank my Coke overlords for delivering a product I can rely on day after day. Actually I like their raspberry-lemonade. And I am sure it is full of algorithms, those are like oxidizers.

Now lets attack the scam artists who sell ionized water. What is ionized water? I know water molecules are polar, but ionized? But I digress.

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Response to Peregrine (Reply #32)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 10:25 PM

36. The "oxygen enhanced" water is what cracks me up

If I had gills, I'd be more interested, but I'm fairly sure my lungs do a better job at supplying oxygen to my blood.

There are people who will use oxygen-enhanced water to swallow their anti-oxidant pills without the slightest irony.

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Response to MrScorpio (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 09:58 PM

30. Never ask how Slurm is made.

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Response to MrScorpio (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 10:02 PM

31. Meh

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Response to MrScorpio (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 10:15 PM

33. At least "orange juice" is easy to avoid.

GMO's, growth hormones, and antibiotics in food is a whole nuther matter entirely. Not to mention all the horrid practices in the food industry these days.

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Response to Kalidurga (Reply #33)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 11:13 PM

50. +1

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Response to MrScorpio (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 10:33 PM

37. This....

...is simply orange:



- Squeezing these is the only way to KNOW what you're gettin'. Unless they're GMO....

K&R

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Response to DeSwiss (Reply #37)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 10:49 PM

43. That fruit has never grown in the wild

It is an engineered fruit that is not native to Florida.

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Response to DeSwiss (Reply #37)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 10:51 PM

44. There is a way to know if produce is genetically modified.

You know that little sticker, the one that is put on with edible glue (but which isn't edible)? It's a PLU, and it tells you things.

If it's four digits and starts with a 4, it's a standard product. If it is a five digit number beginning with 9, it's organically grown. If it is a five digit number beginning with 8, it's GMO. If it starts with 3, it's been irradiated.

Yes, I'm full of useless information.

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Response to MrScorpio (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 10:40 PM

42. I don't get how people are saying this is a bad thing

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Response to MrScorpio (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 10:51 PM

45. Doesn't seem so scary

Sounds like they take different batches of juice from multiple origin sites, test them for their flavor, and mix them together in appropriate quantities in order to keep the same taste profile.

Some of juice is preserved for up to a year by a process similar to vac-packing or something.

It doesn't sound so scary to me.



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Response to killbotfactory (Reply #45)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 11:09 PM

49. But they use ALGORITHMS!

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Response to jberryhill (Reply #49)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 01:26 AM

53. You do know that standard terminators use pseudocode?

Coca-Cola. Yeah they got it. Front for Skynet. It's not even a real language, they all know it. Like a bunch of high school kids all text messaging under their desk!

SKYNET! ALGORITHMS! Dog meat. End of world. Everyone drinks Coke Zero. Nobody enjoys it.

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Response to MrScorpio (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 10:54 PM

46. Color me disappointed.

...even sucks the oxygen out of the juice when they send it to be mixed so that they can keep it around for a year or more...

It's a year or more old?

How do they get the oxygen out of the juice is part water?




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Response to MrScorpio (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 11:42 PM

51. More info

Following on links from a couple of the comments after the article I found this. It's from 2011, but it looks like the information is relevant to the discussion, and there are some more links on that page. (I know nothing about the site The Consumerist, it's what came up when googling.)

http://consumerist.com/2011/07/29/oj-flavor-packs/

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Response to MrScorpio (Original post)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 01:12 AM

52. So Coke

obsesses about their supply chain. It doesn't mean the juice is bad for you. It does taste better than concentrate, though.

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