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Jan 10, 2009 05:32 PM

new tropicana cartons - completely awful!

ok - i don't know if this is the right board, but i am so upset about tropicana's new oj cartons. they look like the store brand are soooooo hard to read. i can hardly discern the different types of oj (calcium v. antioxident v. ?) . i literally first thought the store stopped carrying tropicana and, then, when i figured it out - it took me like 3-5 minutes to squint and try to figure out what type of oj my H likes. plus, these look like a "store" brand, not a commercial brand. maybe it's some kind of scam to trick people into buying something they think is cheaper (b/c store brands are having a resurgance)? i have no clue, but seriously, whoever designed these new cartons should be canned asap.

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  1. My thoughts echoed exactly! I understand that companies have scaled back tremendously on expenses, but why market your *top* selling product in such a vanilla-looking drab container? That is presently one ugly product, and it certainly does not appeal to the eyes at all. I really don't think Tropicana will keep it around all that long, jmho. I think they'll come to their senses soon enough when consumers start supplying negative feedback about how difficult it is to discern what variety of juice it is.

    16 Replies
    1. re: Cheese Boy

      i also think the taste is slightly different, like its been sitting in the fridge for too long, and this isnt bc i got from one bad shipment, i bought in 2 different stores

      1. re: shoelace

        Not all varieties of oranges are available at the same time. You are going to find flavor variations through out the year.

        But yes, I just noticed the changed cartons yesterday and yes at first I thought Kroger had changed their cartons and there was no Tropicana, I prefer a different brand anyway and yes it was difficult to distinguish among the cartons as to type of oj.

        1. re: Candy

          Tropicana is made from reconstituted frozen oj concentrate which is fairly consistent. Fresh OJ I would agree with, but not items from concentrate.

          1. re: Caralien

            Even though they explicitly state "not from concentrate"? I don't mean to sound too Pollyanna, I'm just wondering how they get around that particular language.

            1. re: vvvindaloo

              Apologies--I know most OJ companies have both from concentrate and not (unlike grapefruit juice, which is not from concentrate 90% of the time) To get around it the juice is squeezed, heated and pasturized, filled in vats...eventually frozen in the cartons and shipped to market, frozen.

              1. re: Caralien

                I am pretty sure that the Tropicana varieties sold in supermarkets is of the "not from concentrate" variety. However, it is certainly pasteurized and frozen.

                1. re: vvvindaloo

                  You know what's interesting? I believe that Tropicana oj sold in the UK is not pasteurized. It tastes wonderful, just like fresh squeezed. It's a bummer that we have such conservative standards sometimes with milk, oj and cheese. We'd get much better tasting products.

                2. re: Caralien

                  I don't believe it is frozen. It is chilled and shipped in refrigerated trains, but I believe it is shipped from the plants in Florida in the final sales carton, and this would preclude freezing it as you describe. It certainly is not concentrated and reconstituted, in contrast to Minute Maid for example.

                  If you can cite specific evidence that it is frozen, I'd like to hear about it. Note, it is certainly possible that some is frozen in bulk and warehoused to be blended with fresh juice later, to smooth out growing cycles (those pesky oranges just don''t always ripen at the same time consumers want to drink), but I'm doubting it is routinely frozen. Florida's Natural is not ever frozen, and I believe the same is true of Tropicana.

                  1. re: johnb

                    "Off-season juice is stored in aseptic tanks or frozen in warehouses. "

                    1. re: Caralien

                      Here's a much more recent article (the one you linked to is from 1996) that gives a bit of information about how orange juice is handled. I think the answer is that some of the juice is maybe frozen, kind of.

                      1. re: Caralien

                        Yes, just as I said, but IT ISN"T CONCENTRATED and, obviously, not reconstituted. That is the key. It is non-concentrated juice, that is pasteurized then mixed with previous batches of non-concentrated juice, some of which were held in a frozen state, in order to achieve a consistent taste and to even out production/consumption asymmetries. Blending is found throughout food and winedom; I'm thinking of all those chateau in Bordeaux who blend each year to achieve a consistent style. Same with scotch, etc etc. No big deal with that.

                        Other brands, such as Minute Maid, are from concentrate (but not necessarily frozen concentrate AFAIK). It must be pasteurized twice, first when concentrated, then when reconstituted and packaged. You can easily tell in the taste. It's the pasteurization that degrades the flavor of oj. That's why fresh squeezed will always taste best, and why not-from-concentrate is next (pasteurized only once).

                        The more recent article linked by ccbweb basically is a tasting in CI of premium juice (Tropicana) against so-called super premium (various boutique brands). Again, neither is concentrated--The main difference is how the juice is pasteurized; the super premiums are flash pasteurized. Several of those brands are made in California, which is generally not considered to be the best place for juice (California oranges are generally for the table, Florida oranges are for the juicer).

                        In short, the best juice is fresh squeezed. Next is NFC, whether Tropicana, Florida's Natural, store brand premium, whatever. Next is from concentrate, such as Minute Maid, store brand regular, etc. Next IMO is frozen concentrated that you reconstitute yourself, and at the bottom is canned shelf-stable.

                        1. re: johnb

                          Yep, not concentrated, as replied to vvvindaloo.

                          It seems that Brazil is now supplying the summertime supply, so it ought to be from a fresh supply year round.

                          I really don't like pasturized juice at all, so it's not an issue for me.

                          1. re: Caralien

                            Yes, but in that same post you stated that (Tropicana I suppose) "gets around it" (I'm not sure what "it" is) by various things and "shipping it frozen." Not so--it is shipped fresh. Also inaccurate in that post was the statement that most companies ship both concentrate and non-concentrate. AFAIK, at least for retail juice sold by the big boys. Tropicana is always NFC, Minute Maid is always reconstituted, Florida's Natural is always NFC. Those three account for the lion's share of the market, at least anyplace I've looked.

                            Do you drink only fresh squeezed juice? Unless you do, then you certainly do drink pasteurized juice.

                            1. re: johnb

                              Same post? No--multiple posts. "gets around it" was from another poster who had a question. I wrote what I knew, then looked up and provided updated and clarified information in separate posts. So it's fresh pasturized that you drink--good for you.

                              I don't like pasturized orange juice, and won't drink it. I've posted many times that I don't drink it--I don't know why that is so difficult to believe! Pasturized juices have a funny taste. I won't buy cartons at my local stores, and oranges aren't really grown in this part of the country.

                              When I'm in Florida, I'll stop and pick up some half-gallon jugs of freshly squeezed, non-pasturized juice. Valencia too.

                          2. re: johnb

                            Califonia grows lots of Valencia (juice) oranges. Sunkist brand is the company formed to grow and market only Valencia oranges. (there is a city named for them in So Cal) Nowdays most are grown on the east side of San Joaquin valley up against the foothills, between Fresno and Bakersfield, and along the coastal valleys between Sanata Barbara and Oxnard. Tulare and Ventura counties are the big producers now.

                            2007-08 season totals were 43,000 acres, down from about 68,000 in 2001, the year of worldwide valencia orange glut which forced many family farms to change to other fruit crops in an attempt to survive. (They were getting only $2/ box in 2001!)

                            1. re: toodie jane

                              Yes, it was heart wrenching to drive past acres of orange trees being bulldozed into history. At least most of it went to other agriculture not housing.

          2. Bizarrely, after hearing similar complaints somewhere else, my wife and I (product design junkies both) took a good long look at the Tropicana (both new cartons and old) in Star market this morning. Our take: the new cartons are actually EASIER to read than the old ones! The type of juice is now much more clearly identified, it's just that it's on top (where the seam is) instead of on the front panel. It took me about one-fourth the time that it used to to identify my Tropicana of choice (high pulp plus calcium and vitamin D). Speaking as a fairly serious student of design AND a Tropicana drinker, I really like the new package a lot.

            16 Replies
            1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

              I read a NYT article about the design change--seems Pepsico is changing logos on just about its entire portfolio to "modernize" them somewhat. I'll admit, a straw sticking out of an orange seems a bit tacky, but honestly, tho I've bought gallons of Tropicana over the years (only when on" sale"), I didn't even realize that was the graphic until I read the article--so much for me paying attention to package graphics.

              The article did say, however, that they are also introducing a new half-orange shaped cap. This has not been seen yet where I am--they are still using up the old caps I suppose.

              1. re: johnb

                yeah, there is a new pepsi logo -- sort of looks like obama's brand. imo, the new pepsi logo sort of looks bland, without energy.

                the 12-pack of diet pepsi i just bought shows a slightly different logo -- "flatter" in the (nearly non-existent) curve.

                1. re: johnb

                  The new Mountain Dew logo (logo now just says MTN Dew). It has a craggy mountain pattern, and is ugly...more ugly than the old label.

                  1. re: johnb

                    Here's a picture of the new half-orange cap: I'm SO not going to say what it looks like! LOL

                    Old carton (I think):

                    I had noticed the change a few weeks ago when I was picking up some juice....ended up going with the more expensive Pure Valencia, because I *wanted* the pulp. It seems my local markets have gone all "non-pulp" with the carton juices. But before I chose that, it was a bit more difficult to discern the difference between store-brand and the Tropicana.

                    1. re: LindaWhit

                      Oh, man - I've defended the graphic redesign of the cartons elsewhere in this thread, and I stand by that defense, but I really hope they DON'T roll out the half-orange shaped caps.

                      Not only do they make Barmy think of lady Oompa-Loompas, but I suspect that they're a step backwards ergonomically. Wouldn't the half-sphere shape be much harder to manage than the standard shape with an edge, for folks with grip problems?

                      1. re: Allstonian

                        Lady Oompa-Loompas! OMG, that's brilliant! LOL

                        And I agree - they will be more difficult for anyone with arthritis or grip problems.

                        1. re: LindaWhit

                          All I could think of when I look at the new cap comes, well, circumsized.

                          1. re: thinks too much

                            oh. my. goodness!

                            plus " Tropicana says that proprietary technology went into the halved-orange “squeeze-and-twist” cap, which replaces a more conventional threaded closure covering the pour-spouts on the top of its cartons."
                            squeeze and twist!?! lol!

                            i just hope the cap doesn't leak if the carton is lying on its side. <um, you *weren't* thinking what i think you're thinking?!?>

                            1. re: alkapal

                              I didn't notice that you had to squeeze it to open. I just twisted as usual.
                              And for some reason, mine is laying on its side for the last couple of days and no leaks!
                              (As far as phallic symbols, that never occured to me, unfortunately it will be hard not to think of it now.)

                              1. re: alkapal

                                good grief, the biggest marketing mistake since Nutcracker Barbie

                        2. re: LindaWhit

                          Well I didn't like the new design until I got one with the orange cap, now that I think is cool.

                      2. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                        Our first take on it was, Why did Stop n Shop stop carrying Tropicana? And our second and third takes --- CHEESY. GENERIC. Because it's you BFP, and you're generally a person of good sense, I'll go in the kitchen and look again. But I'm dubious!!!!!!!
                        And whether it's my imagination (new packaging) or my palate (off taste) I noticed what shoelace did as well.

                        1. re: BerkshireTsarina

                          Pretty awful. I hadn't taken note until today, and saw them all in a row, along with an older carton. The older graphic is much better.

                          But hey, I'm surprised it's still 64 oz. Are they playing three card monty with the consumer, and will soon be lowering the ounces? My folks gave me a 'three pound' can of Maxwell House today -- only, it wasn't. It had a -- oh my stars how wonderful how did I possibly pick it up BEFORE? -- handle and was 2 pounds 7 ounces. Of course at the same price that the 3 pound can was before. And, it was plastic.

                          So, I won't be surprised to see Tropicana following on their 'gorgeous' graphic with a lowered amount of juice.

                        2. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                          i think it's interesting that you had to take a "good long look" to figure out that it was easier to read. kind of proves that it's not easier. but whatevs. my H loves the stuff, and so we'll buy it - but i'm not sure they'll get new consumers unless people mistake it for store brand and try to save $$ w/o looking at prices. it's completely not attractive. talk about boring.

                          1. re: bu dat

                            Errrrrrr...I took a "good long look" to compare and contrast the two container styles that were in front of me, during which I catalogued the various ways in which I thought the new container was better designed. As I said, one of the things I noticed is that it's about 500% EASIER to tell what kind of juice is in what kind of carton, not least because that information is now in a cleaner typeface and in a more logical position on the carton. But, as you say, whatevs.

                            It's funny how many people are claiming that the packaging looks "generic" when I thought it seemed pretty obvious that they're going for a vibe similar to, say, the excellent new Wegman's logo ( -- and yes, I'm enough of a product and logo design geek that I have an opinion on the logo redesign of a supermarket that isn't even in my home territory -- with its minimalist, uncluttered aesthetic.

                            I recognize that not everyone is as interested in this sort of thing from the standpoint of pure typography and design as I am. All I'm saying is that of all of the current round of Pepsi-related rebranding/redesigns, this is the one that I think works the best, not least because the old Tropicana packaging looked so tired, cluttered and cobbled-together.

                            Now, you wanna talk a redesign that Pepsi botched, the new Mountain Dew -- excuse me, MTN DEW -- design is awful. Feh. Bring back the hillbillies, I say!

                        3. Probably they changed them to look like the generic brands so people will pick them up THINKING they are the store brand.

                          1. bu dat, cheese boy, and candy,

                            You all read my mind! I saw the new carton a my local grocery store and thought it was the store brand. Days later while clipping coupons, I noticed the coupon with the new design. I liked the little straw in the orange.

                            1. I sort of like the new design.

                              Cleaner and fresher looking.