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Squeezed: What You Don't Know About Orange Juice

Copyright Date: 2009
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 288
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  • Book Info
    Book Description:

    Close to three quarters of U.S. households buy orange juice. Its popularity crosses class, cultural, racial, and regional divides. Why do so many of us drink orange juice? How did it turn from a luxury into a staple in just a few years? More important, how is it that we don't know the real reasons behind OJ's popularity or understand the processes by which the juice is produced?

    In this enlightening book, Alissa Hamilton explores the hidden history of orange juice. She looks at the early forces that propelled orange juice to prominence, including a surplus of oranges that plagued Florida during most of the twentieth century and the army's need to provide vitamin C to troops overseas during World War II. She tells the stories of the FDA's decision in the early 1960s to standardize orange juice, and the juice equivalent of the cola wars that followed between Coca-Cola (which owns Minute Maid) and Pepsi (which owns Tropicana). Of particular interest to OJ drinkers will be the revelation that most orange juice comes from Brazil, not Florida, and that even "not from concentrate" orange juice is heated, stripped of flavor, stored for up to a year, and then reflavored before it is packaged and sold. The book concludes with a thought-provoking discussion of why consumers have the right to know how their food is produced.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-15563-1
    Subjects: Business, Technology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-x)
  3. Preface
    (pp. xi-xii)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. xvii-xxvii)

    My original plan for this book was to investigate the orange juice industry’s effect on the biological diversity of the sweet orange, but the changing genetic makeup of the Florida orange became peripheral to my research almost as soon as I arrived in Florida. After a few interviews I learned that the juice industry alone has not significantly affected sweet orange diversity. And then I found a needle in a haystack that threaded together bigger and more compelling questions to investigate. The journey to the pinpoint discovery had a few detours.

    In February 2004 Dixi, my nine-pound Jack Russell–Chihuahua...

  6. Abbreviations
    (pp. xxviii-xxviii)
  7. Part I The Growth of Florida’s Orange Juice Industry

    • I The Seeds of Florida’s Sunshine Tree
      (pp. 3-10)

      Say “orange juice,” and Florida comes to mind. The Florida stamp on a carton of orange juice is considered a sign of quality. Florida is where orange juice is supposed to come from.

      Florida was also once synonymous with oranges. Not anymore. Now say “Florida” and Disney World, golf courses, and condominiums come to mind. Florida’s transformation in the national imagination reflects reality. Orange trees in Florida are relatively few and far between. They no longer line the highways as they used to, sprouting juice stands along the way. Whole groves are being uprooted to make room for the state’s...

    • II The Twentieth-Century Squeeze
      (pp. 11-24)

      Although the raw materials were available at the end of the nineteenth century to supply a booming late twentieth-century orange juice industry, they were not immediately squeezed to their potential. For the first half of the twentieth century, Florida’s citrus industry was geared toward the production of fresh fruit. The Valencia and Hamlin, ideal for making juice, were less remarkable as fresh fruit. Many of their attributes, such as few seeds, though assets to the modern processor, were a liability to turn-of-the-twentieth-century growers. Those who had not yet converted to grafting preferred varieties that had seeds with which to grow...

    • III The Power of Promotion
      (pp. 25-28)

      The ballooning production of oranges that began in the 1950s following FCOJ’s introduction was not incidental; it renewed the imperative to convince consumers to buy more oranges. At the close of the 1949–50 season, the Florida Citrus Exchange projected that the citrus processor would play a primary role in promoting Florida citrus: “The total consumption of citrus can be expected to continue to increase, especially considering that the four biggest concentrating facilities will spend considerably more money advertising Florida citrus than the growers themselves in Florida have ever spent in a single season.”¹ Consumers under the processor’s influence were...

  8. Part II Developing Orange Juice Standards of Identity

    • IV Introducing the FDA Standard of Identity
      (pp. 31-36)

      The 1938 Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act introduced the “standard of identity” into the FDA’s vocabulary. The Act provided the FDA with the authority to set a standard of identity for a food “whenever in the judgment of the Secretary such action will promote honest and fair dealing in the interest of consumers.” Food processors had been marketing ice cream with varying levels of cream, maple flavored syrup with varying levels of maple sugar, and jams and jellies with varying levels of fruit. With a standard of identity the FDA could define the processes and ingredients that it deemed...

    • V Capturing the Interest of the Orange Juice Consumer
      (pp. 37-49)

      Picture a room full of high-powered lawyers questioning government regulators and industry and consumer representatives in an attempt to determine what orange juice is. Although this sounds like a Monty Python skit, it was actually the backdrop for FDA hearings into the “Matter of Orange Juice and Orange Juice Products; Definitions and Standards of Identity.” The hearings, which ran through the first half of 1961 and produced over three thousand pages of transcribed material, attest to the weight given to the search for orange juice’s identity.

      The FDA convened the hearings after receiving more than sixty letters of objection, mostly...

    • VI Regulating Knowledge: The Case of Pasteurized Orange Juice
      (pp. 50-61)

      By 1955 consumers purchasing orange juice did not necessarily head straight to the freezer. Pasteurized orange juice was generating traffic around the refrigerated section of supermarkets. The FDA had one major problem with the convenient, ready-to-drink juice: it was not marketed in a way that let consumers know it had been heat-treated. The common name for the product, “chilled orange juice,” lacked any indication that the juice was not, as it appeared to be, fresh-squeezed, and processors were not receptive to the FDA’s preference of the more revealing name “pasteurized orange juice.” The disagreement was symbolic of a larger issue...

    • VII Regulating Misleading Orange Juice Labeling
      (pp. 62-72)

      In addition to the labeling of pasteurized orange juice, the pervasiveness of confusing orange juice advertisements also spurred FDA standardization. The testimony of consumer representatives Faith Fenton and Anne Draper corroborated the FDA’s suspicion that orange juice marketing was particularly prone to confusing the consumer. During her cross-examination by Edward Williams, a lawyer for the Florida Canners’ Association, Fenton did not back away from criticizing the constituency he represented, offering testimony that was damaging to the juice manufacturers he defended: “One professor wrote that there was so much confusion about the labeling of orange juice products that she had for...

    • VIII Regulating Content
      (pp. 73-85)

      Over the course of the hearings processors and regulators spent untold hours trying to isolate the essential components of the various kinds of orange juice on the market. The exercise emphasized the elusiveness of orange juice’s identity, in whatever form it took. First up for examination was fresh orange juice. Even this seemingly straightforward juice was perplexing. Horace Campbell of Sunkist said, “Freshly squeezed orange juice . . . is a widely variable commodity. . . . I don’t know just how you would describe it.”¹ The inconsistency that is inherent in a fresh product is a headache for those...

    • IX Regulating the Essence of Orange Juice
      (pp. 86-104)

      The hearings made the FDA aware that processors were experimenting with using orange essence in the manufacture of juice. The addition of essence and refined orange oil to products advertised as 100 percent pure orange juice added a new regulatory issue to the FDA’s agenda: whether orange essence and oil should be considered additives rather than natural components of orange juice and, if so, whether they should be labeled. In the early 1960s “cut-back,” the fresh juice that was put back into concentrated juice to reduce the Brix and add taste, was still the flavoring material of choice for FCOJ....

    • Photographs
      (pp. None)
  9. Part III Florida’s Orange Juice Industry Post-1960

    • X Processed Orange Juice Hits Florida
      (pp. 107-125)

      In 1961 the FDA acted on marketing tactics that misled the orange juice consumer. Jim Griffiths, an entomologist who has been involved in the orange juice business in Florida for over half a century, points to another problem with the hype that resulted from the invention of FCOJ: its impact on agriculture. “Everybody is trying to influence the consumer,” he says, and such efforts are “probably successful to a certain extent. Basically orange juice demand has expanded and has had spurts that stimulated planting. And when [orange juice] gets overproduced it gets cheap and people drink more of it. And...

    • XI NFC Orange Juice Pours into the Nation
      (pp. 126-134)

      The FDA disregarded processors’ protests over whether to use the word “pasteurized” to describe pasteurized orange juice. Section 146.140 of the Code of Federal Regulations introduces the product’s standard of identity with the title “Pasteurized orange juice,” and the body of the text reiterates this: “The name of the food is ‘Pasteurized orange juice.’” It stipulates that the word “pasteurized” must be “shown on labels in letters not less than one-half of the height of the letters in the words ‘orange juice.’”¹ Clearly the intent was to make “pasteurized” part of the public’s orange juice vocabulary. The regulation communicates the...

    • XII The Orange Juice Wars
      (pp. 135-151)

      Most know that Tropicana Pure Premiumis notfrom concentrate. Few know what itis. Consumers of the Simply Orange brand of not-from-concentrate orange juice may have heard the company’s motto: “Simply unfooled around with.” Few question what the statement means, let alone its accuracy. Without a source of information other than the product label, yesterday’s homemaker and today’s orange juice buyer must accept the cartons on the market knowing very little about their contents. This is problematic because of the rift that exists between the reality of processed orange juice and retail rhetoric. Take NFC, for example.

      Although NFC...

    • XIII Fabricating Fresh
      (pp. 152-172)

      Traditionally the flavor of processed orange juice depended only on the oranges squeezed. Now the flavor is sourced from all parts of oranges everywhere. Many consumers would be shocked and disappointed to learn that most processed orange juice, a product still widely perceived to be the definition of purity, would be undrinkable without an ingredient referred to within the industry as “the flavor pack.” The fact that the modern orange juice flavor pack has retained almost complete anonymity is a symptom of orange juice standards of identity that were literally “fixed” pursuant to s.341 of the FFDCA in the early...

    • XIV Moving Beyond the Standard of Identity
      (pp. 173-182)

      The processed food industry invested heavily in food technology during World War II, and in marketing after the war. It was beginning to reap the returns around the time of the 1961 orange juice standard of identity hearings, reinventing itself, and food as Americans knew it, along the way. All this forward action was taking place behind the scenes of a society that held fast to traditional norms that said women stayed at home. The testimony presented at the hearings was in keeping with the Anita Bryant orange juice ads that ran concurrently: “Mrs. Housewife” was in charge of the...

    • XV Pleasing Mrs. Smith
      (pp. 183-186)

      At the 1957 meeting of the Florida State Horticultural Society, Robert Brink of Kroger Food Foundations spotlighted the woman with whom everyone engaged in food production—from producer, to retailer, to regulator—was familiar: “But it is the consumer, our Mrs. Smith, who represents the buying power, and by utilizing this power causes products to grow in sales. Thus for any item to realize its full sales potential, Mrs. Smith must be kept foodhappy.”¹ The food industry’s recognition that Mrs. Smith held the buying power did not necessarily work to her advantage. Industry leaders set out to seduce her with...

  10. Part IV Orange Juice in the Twenty-First Century

    • XVI Where To?
      (pp. 189-197)

      The introduction of FCOJ after the war placed a middleman, the processor, between the Florida orange grower and North American orange juice consumer, and this group sparked the explosion in advertising that has benefited neither grower nor consumer. Processors and brand labels, in the case of Tropicana one and the same, doubly benefit from their product’s incessant promotion: advertising pushes consumers to buy more orange juice; and the resulting increase in demand for oranges puts pressure on supply, which inevitably ends in an orange glut, providing processors a cheap source of raw materials. Headlines that read, “Orange-Price Drop Hurts Growers,...

    • XVII Orange Juice Speaks Volumes
      (pp. 198-203)

      Two related issues dominated the 2004 presidential election campaign: outsourcing and homeland security. With respect to the former, talk centered on the loss of jobs in the manufacturing sector to foreign nations. With respect to the latter, discussion focused on the need to become less dependent on other nations and to further develop this nation’s energy supplies, meaning oil. Yet despite the severe economic crisis that came to dominate the 2008 presidential election, the two major-party candidates made little more than passing reference to agriculture and its relation to these two issues.

      Indeed, little mention has been made of entire...

    • XVIII The Right Fight
      (pp. 204-210)

      In the mid-1940s the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Research Council (NRC) designated oranges, tomatoes, and grapefruit as a food group. The trio appeared second on the NRC’s list of the “Basic Seven” food groups, a seminal guide to healthy eating. The orange had officially entered the nutritionist’s vocabulary.

      In the late 1940s three men invented a saleable frozen concentrated orange juice. It came just in time for Florida growers, who were having trouble getting rid of their surplus oranges, and consumers, who now had a way to get their daily dose of oranges in a form that...

  11. Chronology
    (pp. 211-214)
  12. Notes
    (pp. 215-232)
  13. Index
    (pp. 233-248)