Misleading branding: Berri juices to be renamed
National Foods’ juice line Berri will be required to change two of its flagship brands, Australian Fresh and The Daily Juice Company, after an ACCC investigation found the brand names might be misleading customers into believing the juice was 100% freshly-squeezed.
Some Australian Fresh juices contain a blend of fresh and cold stored juice, depending on seasonal availability, with only the Australian Fresh apple juice being 100% freshly squeezed. Daily Juice Company juices contain a blend of fresh, reconstituted juice and sometimes juice that has been cold stored.
Cold stored or aseptically stored juice, is juice which is stored in sterile bags in a cold environment, without added preservatives. All Berri juice is also heated for a short period to pasteurize it.
Australian Fresh will be renamed to Australian Grown as soon as new packaging is available, while packaging for The Daily Juice Company will be altered to reflect the blended nature of the contents. In addition to changing all packaging by March 2011, National Foods has also agreed to publish advertisments in major Sunday papers clearly stating the nature of the juices’ contents.
The ACCC conducted an investigation into the juices, concerned that the packaging suggested the contents were 100% freshly squeezed. National Foods said it accepted that the brand is likely to have misled some consumers, placing them in contravention of the Trade Practices Act.
National Foods said that the use of cold-stored juice was not a cost-saving measure.
“Using cold stored (aseptic stored) orange juice actually adds to our costs, but we do it so that the taste profile of our orange juice can be kept consistent when fruit availability is low. The fruit used is purchased at the normal contracted prices, then the sterile filling process and refrigeration storage are added expenses,” said a statement from the company.
National Foods has moved quickly to reassure its consumers on a number of issues, saying that the cold stored juice is generally a ‘relatively small’ percentage of the Australian Fresh product, is preservative and additive free, and that stored juice is typically used within six months of storage, despite a shelf life of around a year.
Unlike Australian Fresh, the Daily Juice Company line uses a blend of concentrate and fresh juice.
“The Daily Juice Company orange juice contains a proportion of orange juice concentrate which enables us to offer consumers a juice product at a lower price than our Berri Australian Fresh product, which is made using 100% Australian grown fruit. The use of concentrate in our Daily Juice Company products also helps to deliver a more consistent taste throughout the year.”
The decision may come as a further blow for the National Foods, whose dairy operations have been significantly rationalised this year, and whose parent company Kirin Holdings this week wrote down the company’s value by $485 million.