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Parents beware: Juice in juice drinks costs up to £34 per litre!

30th April 2004

Parents are unwittingly paying up to £34 a litre for fruit juice when they buy it in the form of ‘juice drinks’, according to a survey published today in the Food Magazine.

“Many children’s products boast that they contain real fruit, but most juice drinks usually contain only a small amount of real juice, sold at an exorbitant price,” said Kath Dalmeny, Policy Officer for the Food Commission (publisher of the Food Magazine). “The description ‘juice drink’ typically means watered-down juice, with sugar, sweeteners, colours and flavours. These are added to make low-juice drinks seem fruitier than they really are.”

The survey found that popular products such as Ribena, Robinsons Fruit Shoot and Calypso juice drinks, sold in small containers for children’s lunchboxes, contain very little real juice (see table below). If parents bought pure juice at the same price per ml, they would pay between £3.53 and £34.67 per litre.


Children’s juice drink product name
% juice
Equivalent price of juice per litre
Number of packs you would need, to get a litre of pure juice (to the nearest pack)
Ribena Blackcurrant juice drink
58 x 288ml cartons
Twist ‘n’ Squeeze Juice Drink Orange with sugar and sweetener
100 x 200ml bottles
Robinsons Fruit Shoot Apple No Added Sugar
31 x 300ml bottles
Calypso Organic Forest Fruits Flavour juice drink
40 x 250ml cartons
Tom & Jerry Apple & Blackcurrant juice drink
50 x 250ml cartons
Sunny Delight no added sugar Florida Style
33 x 200ml bottles
Tesco Kids ‘It’s very refreshing!’ Orange & Peach juice drink
20 x 250ml cartons
ASDA More for Kids no added sugar Apple & Pear juice drink
40 x 250ml cartons
Thomas & Friends juice drink Apple & Blackcurrant no added sugar + vitamin C
33 x 200ml cartons
Disney Winnie the Pooh Roo Juice Winterberry
10 x 180ml cartons

In 2003, the Parents Jury [1] branded ‘juice drink’ as the most misleading but healthy-sounding description used on children’s food labels, giving it the Food Label Fibs award. The phrase ‘juice drink’ is legal, and can be used on drinks containing as little as 1% juice, but many parents said that a more accurate description would be ‘low juice’. The message to parents? If you want a refreshing drink for your children, add still or sparkling water to real fruit juice – it will be refreshing and healthy… and a lot cheaper!

More information

Telephone: 020 7837 2250

[1] The Parents Jury was launched in 2002 by the Food Commission, as an opportunity for parents to express their views about children’s food and food marketing. It has over 1,700 members.


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