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Is juice having an identity crisis? Why your guava, lychee or kiwi juices might be suffering from 'applejuiceification.'

An X user went viral after showing just how much apple juice is included in popular drinks.

Social media users are commenting on just how much apple juice is in other juices. (Photo illustration: Yahoo News; photos: Getty Images.)
Social media users are commenting on just how much apple juice is in other juices. (Photo illustration: Yahoo News; photos: Getty Images.)

It turns out that the recent proliferation of supermarket juice offerings may boil down to an apples to apples comparison.

A social media user known as @echetus posted a photo this week on X, formerly known as Twitter, from a grocery store juice aisle, opening up a now-viral conversation about ingredient labels, "shrinkflation" — and apples.

Above an image of a seemingly endless variety of juices, @echetus wrote, “Applejuiceification and the illusion of choice,” followed by a series of photos that offered a closer look at each flavor. The thread included juices from British brand Innocent as well as Naked Juice and showed that the primary ingredient— even if labeled as something else — is apple juice. For example, Innocent’s “Berry Set Go” juice, which highlights raspberries and cherries, lists apple juice as its main ingredient, making up 82% of the drink.

“We’re all under the grip of Big Apple,” replied @krxsctr to the thread.

Yahoo News reached out to both Innocent and Naked Juice, as well as @echetus, but didn’t receive a response.

What are filler juices, and are they common?

According to the British Soft Drinks Association (BSDA), consumers should get used to many products following this pattern of using filler juices — as it’s been a staple in several beverages over the years.

Filler juices are often sweet, but not overpowering, and are able to raise the natural level of sugar and taste in a drink. Apple juice, grape juice and even pear juice are some of the more common ones.

“The use of apple juice as a base in some juice and smoothie products is common practice and has been for several decades, primarily to help balance the flavour,” the BSDA told Yahoo News in an email. “Apples have a delicate taste and natural sweetness that can help balance the profile of smaller fruits, which have a stronger flavour and can be overpowering in large quantities. BSDA members comply with all relevant regulations and list ingredients on pack.”

According to Mashed.com, Innocent juices have used apple juice since 2007 — so this isn’t uncharted territory. There are other brands that use filler juices, such as Ocean Spray. In the cranberry-pomegranate juice, apple juice and grape juice are the first two ingredients on the label.

Where creative food packaging fits in

This viral thread, which has received over 180,000 likes on X, called out “applejuicification” as an alleged form of “skimpflation,” a tactic that companies use to dilute the product, yet charge the same or more for the same size. Although there are regulations from the U.S. Drug and Food Administration, there are still ways companies can package their products to appear more nutritious than they truly are.

Matt Rosenman (@mattrosenman), a graphic design artist for health and fitness brands, has garnered millions of views on TikTok putting his skills and these tactics to the test by rebranding several “unhealthy” foods as healthy.

“With sugar, even if it’s not low sugar, you can use ‘no sugar added’ on a fruit smoothie. Fruits are notoriously high in sugar, so the smoothie itself is going to be very high in sugar, but someone is going to see ‘no sugar added’ and think it's a lower sugar option,” he told Yahoo News in an interview. “It’s happening all the time. … In a lot of cases, a company isn't trying to be misleading, but it is.”

According to the FDA, if the sugar in the product doesn’t exceed the amount of sugar in the individual ingredients themselves, then ‘no sugar added’ can be used on the label — hence the use of sweeter fruit juices.

Whatever’s on your grocery list, Rosenman simply wants shoppers to be fully aware of what they are buying at the store.

"People should consume what they want,” Rosenman said. “But we should learn to flip over the package and look at the nutrition facts and the ingredients.”