With fruit juice in the spotlight over sugar content, many French consumers believe that the industry adds sugar to fruit juice – when, in fact, this is prohibited by EU legislation.
The French organization, whose members are made up from fruit producers as well as companies from across the supply chain, is seeking to communicate the nutritional value of juice, as well as represent the sector in France, Europe and internationally.
“We were surprised that consumers still consider there is added sugar in juice,” said Anne-Sophie Royant, secretary general, Unijus, speaking to this publication at the Journées Francophones de Nutrition 2016 in Montpellier, France.
“We were surprised because, if you consider regulation, it’s forbidden."
In France, there are three categories of juice: pure fruit juice; juice from concentrate; and nectars.
“We have to explain the different categories of products so consumers can be aware of the real content of the juice,” said Royant.
Under legislation, pure fruit juice (‘pur jus’) and juice from concentrate (jus à base de concentré) cannot have added sugar. Nectars can have added sugar, but Royant says this is in a limited quantity, which is clearly displayed on the packaging.
Unijus conducted a national survey this year to investigate how consumers in France perceive fruit juice. This means it has been able to hone in on the messages that the industry needs to convey to consumers in order to combat common negative perceptions of the beverage.
Consumer perception: Fruit juice contains added sugar.
Unijus: Fruit juice and juice from concentrate do not contain added sugars.
Consumer perception: Fruit Juice has too much sugar; and only contains sugar.
Unijus: Fruit juice contain vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin C, B9 and potassium.
Consumer perception: Industrially produced juice contains more sugar than homemade juice.
Unijus: The nutritional qualities of commercial orange juice and homemade juice are the same.
Consumer perception: Regular consumption of juice is incompatible with a balanced diet.
Unijus: The Programme National Nutrition Santé (PNNS) considers that one 200ml glass of fruit juice counts as one of the advised ‘five-a-day’ of fruit and vegetables.
Consumer perception: Fruit juice is responsible for problems with obesity.
Unijus: Studies do not find any relation between a moderate consumption of juice and obesity/overweight.
Consumer perception: Fruit juice is responsible for dental erosion and cavities.
Unijus: The main factor in the risk of cavities is bad dental hygiene. If people keep good dental hygiene, fruit juice does not negatively impact the teeth.