NATURE'S NECTAR VITAMIN D/CALCIUM 100% ORANGE JUICE
|Tastes a little weak to me, but pretty darn good for the price.|
Orange juice is tasty and healthy, so I like having it on hand more often than not. I used to get the kind in the cheap plastic carton, which I believe was “from concentrate” (meaning water is added to it), because it was quite a bit cheaper. Well now the prices have gotten so close that it seems pointless to pay for what amounts to “diluted” orange juice—now I just buy the OJ in the carafes. It’s “never from concentrate”, meaning that it is just straight up orange juice, with zero added ingredients; I’m not so health-conscience that I’m above “from concentrate” juices, but if the uncut stuff is just ten cents more, it seems like a no-brainer to me.
As you can infer just from reading the label, this does have the added ingredients of tricalcium phosphate, calcium lactate, and Vitamin D3. I’m not sure what any of them do specifically (besides add Vitamin D and Calcium, of course), but more vitamins seem like a good thing. The only reason I get this kind, and not regular, is because, as far as I can tell, Aldi only offers the carafed orange juice in two varieties: this one, and high-pulp. That strikes me as odd that they wouldn't have a "regular" pulp-free version, but it's not really that big of a deal, so I settle for this one.
I can’t seem to shake the feeling that the flavor here is watered down a bit...it just doesn’t taste like straight up orange juice to me. I’m not sure if the acidity level is somehow cut down with the addition of the vitamins, or if their mere inclusion alters the flavor, but something just doesn’t taste 100% right here. It starts orange-y, but then the taste kind of fades away quick…it’s like if you poured orange juice into a glass of ice, put it out in the hot sun for an hour, and then started drinking it.
That being said, it must not bother me all that much because I still get this one fairly frequently (probably once every month or two). Despite my complaints, it does still taste like orange juice (as in the orange is front and center, at least for a couple seconds), and the now $1.89 price tag is more than a dollar less what you would expect to pay for the name brand. The watered-down taste also kind of helps to make it more drinkable and refreshing...some OJ's I've had (especially cheaper ones) taste and feel so acidic that you almost have to sip them—in fact, I've gotten acid reflux symptoms a few times from drinking particularly “strong” orange juices. At the very least, you can chug this on a hot summer day for some quick refreshment; the "watered-down" consistency also can help make this a good mixer for all you alcoholics out there.
It's a good orange juice, and the inclusion of vitamins is kind of nice, I guess, but I do kinda wish they would offer this in a no-pulp version without the added supplements.
Overall: 7/10. It's a good, cheap orange juice that, perhaps best of all, is “not from concentrate” (meaning it's not cut with water...what's inside is 100% orange juice) but still somehow has a very watered-down flavor. It starts off tasting like you would expect it to, with the taste of fresh orange front-and-center, but then just like that, the orange flavor just kind of disappears. On the one hand that's kind of nice, because it makes it seem less acidic, and therefore more guzzlable than most orange juices, but on the other hand, it's kind of baffling for an orange juice without added water to taste like water has been added. I still get it more than I should, though, because the only other option in these carafes is a “high-pulp” version, and I do not like pulp in my orange juice at all. Hopefully one day Aldi will add a no-pulp variety without the added vitamins, which seems like something they should clearly already be doing, but I guess their marketing data tells them otherwise. And regardless of my bitching, the point still remains: This is a good orange juice, especially for its paltry $1.89 price tag.
NATURE'S NECTAR 100% JUICE FRUIT PUNCH
|Tastes just like the national brand, but without all their advertising costs tacked on to the final price.|
While you're contemplating the answer to that question, I've already Googled it, and as everything else in the U.S., it's an answer that's more complicated than it should be. If I understand correctly, the FDA has a method for calculating juice percentages for juices from concentrate. In the concentration process, water is removed from the fruit, usually via heat, and then can be “brought back” by adding an amount of water equal to the amount taken out. The reason for removing the liquid in the first place has nothing to do with health benefits, and everything to do with profits: since fruits are mostly water, companies can save money by removing the water from the fruit or vegetable before shipping. Then, when the fruits hit their intended destination, they can be “brought back” by adding the same amount of water that was removed from them in the first place. In the case of an apple, which is made up of 84% water, there only needs to be 16% of actual apple juice in a “from concentrate” product, for it to be considered 100% juice. I probably bungled that explanation, so if anyone has any knowledge of this field and would like to clarify, then please feel free to correct me, and add your two cents into the comments.
Anyway, the specific 100% juice product we are looking at is actually called “100% Juice”, available under the Nature's Nectar beverage line from Aldi. Tying in to the question and answer session above, it's comprised of four juices from concentrate: apple, pear, grape, and tangerine, all combined to form the “fruit punch” flavor that is contained within the bottle. The juice itself is a dark red, and looks almost like a diluted cherry juice.
The taste is fantastic, tasting very similarly to the name brand that it is attempting to knock off (a hint if you're stumped: the juice is generally marketed toward children, and the color scheme of the bottle is almost the same). I've always thought that “Fruit Punch” was a very misleading name for it, because it doesn't taste like any fruit punch product I've had before, but I'm sure there are no specific definitions for a “fruit punch” drink, and so any combination of fruits can probably be considered “punch”. The apple and grape juices are the most recognizable, but all of them combine to form a delicious, very sweet juice that is one of my favorite beverages at Aldi, and my go-to when I'm not in the mood for any kind of specific fruit juice in particular.
To me, there's something about it that's very drinkable and addicting; it's the perfect kind to chug when I'm thirsty and need something quick and convenient. Of course, the process used for “concentrating” juice also removes a lot of the natural vitamins and minerals, so while you won't get all of that back, each 8 oz. serving does have 120% vitamin C (in the form of ascorbic acid); each serving also counts as a full serving of fruits, which can help promote healthiness in growing boys and girls, or 33-year-old adults like myself!
Overall: 8.5/10. I love this drink; it has become my fallback option when I'm not craving a certain kind of fruit juice. The fruit combination (four juices, all from concentrate) works deliciously well, with apple and grape stepping out as the main flavors, with pear and tangerine finishing it off. It's very sweet, and there's a lot of sugar, but none of it is added and there's no high fructose corn syrup. There are also high amounts of vitamin C (120% per 8 ounces), and each serving counts as a serving of fruit. It's instantly drinkable, to the point that I find myself chugging this when nothing else sounds good. One of my favorite juices from Aldi, and one that, I imagine, would appeal to just as many grown-ups as it does to children.