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We taste tested 4 major orange juice brands and the winner was clear

INSIDER logoINSIDER 2017-05-19 feedback@thisisinsider.com (Kim Renfro)

Florida's Natural was last. © Sydney Kramer/INSIDER Florida's Natural was last.

The INSIDER Summary:

  • Orange juice is a breakfast staple, so INSIDER wanted to see which brand is best.
  • We tried Minute Maid, Simply Orange, Tropicana, and Florida's Natural.
  • Tropicana was our favorite, with Minute Maid as a close second.
  • Florida's Natural had an off-putting sweet taste to us.

These days it feels as though orange juice comes in dozens of varieties. Extra pulp, no pulp, added calcium, "fresh squeezed," all-natural, medium pulp — the list goes on. 

National orange juice brands were the star of INSIDER Test Kitchen's latest taste test. We had already tackled which pancake mix was the best, so it was only natural to complete the breakfast theme with OJ. (We also count our frozen cheese pizza comparison as breakfast, because who doesn't love a slice of pizza in the morning?)

Our four choices were Minute Maid, Simply Orange, Tropicana, and Florida's Natural.

The great OJ taste test contenders. © Sydney Kramer/INSIDER The great OJ taste test contenders.

We chose to keep it simple and bought four of the top grocery store brands, all with "some pulp" (or in the case of Simply Orange — "medium pulp"). We vigorously shook each container, and poured out a glass. 

First up — Minute Maid

Minute Maid is first at the OJ gauntlet. © Sydney Kramer/INSIDER Minute Maid is first at the OJ gauntlet.

The Minute Maid OJ was tasty and not too acidic (always a danger with citrus-based juice). The overall taste was a little watery but sweet. The orange flavoring wasn't too concentrated, and overall was just what you'd expect from a solid breakfast juice.

The 59 oz. bottle cost $3.99 — which rounds out to 6.8¢ per ounce.

Tropicana

Tropicana's iconic straw logo stayed with us. © Sydney Kramer/INSIDER Tropicana's iconic straw logo stayed with us.

Similar to Minute Maid, the Tropicana was also a little watery. Perhaps this was just a placebo effect of the branding, but it almost tasted like there was a passion fruit or mango flavor added to the orange juice. The ingredients list said nothing of fruits other than oranges, but we did notice it had one gram less sugar per serving than Minute Maid.

Perhaps this was the key difference? No matter what the source, the Tropicana juice was delicious.

The 32 oz. bottle cost $ 3 .99 — which rounds out to 12¢ per ounce.

Simply Orange

Simply Orange is marketed as a slightly fancier OJ. © Sydney Kramer/INSIDER Simply Orange is marketed as a slightly fancier OJ.

Right away we noticed the Simply Orange was more pale in color than the others, but this was likely because we had purchased an "added calcium" version of the juice. This was also yummy, but with more of a concentrated orange flavor.

It's worth noting that the Simply Orange bottle was the most expensive of the bunch, though it's a better deal than Tropicana when you break it down by price per ounce.

The 59 oz. bottle cost $5.99 — which rounds out to 10¢ per ounce.

Florida's Natural

Florida's Natural was last. © Sydney Kramer/INSIDER Florida's Natural was last.

We noticed that the Florida's Natural juice was very pulpy compared to the others. Even though we had shaken the container before pouring, there was a layer of pulp floating at the top of the glass.

This was the most drastically different of all the juices — and not in a good way. The OJ had an unpleasantly sweet aftertaste that drowned out any orange flavoring. It basically was like drinking sugary pulp with a hint of orange.

The 59 oz. bottle cost $4.99 — which rounds out to 8.5¢ per ounce.

THE VERDICT

The great OJ taste test contenders. © Sydney Kramer/INSIDER The great OJ taste test contenders.

Tropicana was the clear winner in our books. The orange flavor was perfect — just strong enough without being too acidic or sweet. Simply Orange and Minute Maid were solid options too, but at the end of the experiment, the glass we wanted to finish entirely was Tropicana.

Florida's Natural was just not what we wanted from a glass of store-bought juice. The added sweetness paired with a weak orange flavor was disappointing.

It's worth nothing that (based on the bottles we purchased at a local grocery store) the Tropicana was the most expensive per ounce. But next time you need OJ for the breakfast table (or just for delicious mimosas), our bet is on Tropicana for being the juice most worthy of your money.

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