Answer: It depends.
If you’re an active member of the vegan community, you may be familiar with recent talks about the “veganness” of orange juice, with people arguing it may contain non-vegan ingredients. This has had a massive influence on many brands, particularly Minute Maid—a company best known for its orange juice, though they also manufacture other beverages. So, is Minute Maid vegan?
The short answer is—yes, Minute Maid’s original orange juice is vegan, though that doesn’t apply to all of their products as two specific products contain non-vegan ingredients.
Therefore, it’s important to be mindful of which product you purchase from the brand. Experts suggest looking into the ingredients list on each product’s label, which takes us to the next topic.
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What Is In Minute Maid?
Minute Maid has always advertised their product as 100% orange juice, and that’s more or less true. Their original orange juice mainly consists of two ingredients: (1) filtered water and (2) orange juice concentrate, both of which are vegan. Therefore, Minute Maid is vegan if you’re not counting their other products. Upon closer inspection of their other products, here are the ingredients we found:
- Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C)
- Calcium Disodium Edta
- Citric Acid
- Filtered Water
- Fruit Juices From Concentrate
- Natural Flavor
- Plant Sterols
- Potassium Sorbate
- Sodium Phosphate
- Sodium Benzoate
All of these ingredients are vegan. But a product’s ingredient list isn’t necessarily the absolute truth. In some cases, there are hidden ingredients, and that’s the case for two of Minute Maid’s products.
Which Minute Maid Products Are Vegan, And Which Are Not?
Most minute maid products are vegan or at least those we know of. These include the following:
- Orange Juice
- Fruit Punch
- Apple Juice
- Fresh Mango Passionfruit
- Watermelon Blueberry
- Light Lemonade Juice
- Heartwise Orange Juice
- Watermelon Juice
- Lemonade Juice
Unfortunately, two of Minute Maid’s products contain an animal byproduct.
Here’s a closer look at these two products.
Orange Juice With Calcium And Vitamin D
Orange Juice With Calcium And Vitamin D is essentially the same as Minute Maid’s original orange juice, except it contains extra nutrients. And believe it or not, vitamin D is potentially a non-vegan nutrient.
To further clarify, vitamin D has several forms, namely vitamin D2 and D3.
Vitamin D2 has several sources, including fatty fish, fish liver, and mushrooms. Vitamin D3, on the other hand, is derived from lanolin—a waxy substance that comes from sheep’s wool.
Minute Maid uses vitamin D3, though in either case, vitamin D is by no means vegan.
This is the main reason why this particular product is not vegan. On the bright side, the rest of Minute Maid’s product line has zero vitamin D content, so it’s safe to assume they are all vegan except for one.
Ruby Red Grapefruit Juice
Although not technically an orange juice, it’s still a product of Minute Maid, which you may stumble upon in your shopping spree. Ruby Red Grapefruit Juice is characterized by a reddish color.
While you may be inclined to believe that its color comes from artificial coloring, it results from a red dye made of carmine—a substance found in crushed insects. Therefore, it’s not vegan.
Carmine is also a common ingredient in cosmetics due to its affordability and accessibility.
Again, since carmine and vitamin D is used primarily during production and not as additives, Minute Maid omits them from the ingredients label, which can be misleading, especially for vegans.
At the very least, now that you know which products aren’t vegan, you can rule them out on your next shopping spree. Or better yet, you can make your own orange juice to ensure 100% veganness.
How To Make Your Own Orange Juice
Freshly-squeezed orange typically tastes better than orange juices from stores.
Since that’s the case, if you have the opportunity to make orange juice by yourself, you’d best take it. Fortunately, making orange juice is fairly straightforward.
There are generally three methods to make your own orange juice. Let’s start with the first one.
Method #1: Manual
Manually squeezing the orange with your hands is perhaps the most authentic way of making orange juice, though that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the most efficient. Here’s how you can use this method:
- Rinse the fruit under running water.
- Cut each orange in half.
- Discard the seeds from the fruit. You don’t have to get them all.
- Squeeze the orange into a glass.
- Remove the remaining seeds from the juice.
While it may be authentic, it’s inefficient since there are no benefits to squeezing the juice out of the orange barehanded. Moreover, this method only works for oranges with relatively thin skin.
Method #2: Using A Citrus Juicer
A citrus juicer is the most obvious and common way to juice oranges. You can use an electric juicer or a handheld model depending on what’s available. Then, proceed with the following tips:
- Cut the oranges in half.
- Position the cut orange against the top of the juicer.
- If using a handheld model, rotate the orange as you press it against the device. If you’re using an electric model, simply follow the instructions provided in the device’s manual.
- Open the juicer and pour the juice into a strainer to remove stray seeds.
This is arguably the fastest way to make orange juice. But you’ll often find yourself having to take care of the remains of the fruit. If you don’t want to waste anything, you might want to use a blender instead.
Method #3: Using A Blender
Using a blender is an excellent method to make orange juice since you won’t be wasting any part of the orange, except for the skin. Here’s how you can use a blender to make orange juice:
- Start by washing your oranges.
- Remove the fruit’s peel.
- If you don’t want a bitter taste in your juice, try to remove as much of the white membrane as possible. But if it doesn’t bother you, it would be best to leave them be as they’re nutritious.
- Cut each orange slice in half so you’ll see the seeds clearly.
- Remove the seeds with a knife.
- Drop them all into a blender.
- Turn on the blender. You can also add water before the blending process for more juice.
- Pour the resulting product into your cup.
This method often yields more fiber than usual as it uses the entire orange.
Note: Freshly squeezed orange is best consumed immediately as it provides the highest amount of nutrients. If you do end up with leftovers, they should be able to last for three days in the fridge.
4 Vegan Orange Juice Brands
Since fruits are inherently vegan, all brands that claim to be 100% orange juice should be vegan, as they should only have one ingredient: oranges. Unfortunately, that’s often not the case.
Nevertheless, here are some examples if you’re looking for other orange juice brands.
1. Capri Sun
Capri Sun is one of the main competitors of Minute Maid, known for its concentrated juice products. And yes, Capri Sun’s orange juice is void of any animal product and is thereby vegan. Moreover, we have yet to find any Capri Sun juice that contains vitamin D, so it’s safe to assume all their products are vegan.
2. Natalie’s Juice Company
Natalie’s Juice Company is a lesser-known company that manufactures orange juice. They primarily use Florida oranges for their juice. While it does contain vitamin C and folate, they’re void of vitamin D. Therefore, Natalie’s Juice Company’s orange juice is vegan, as stated on their FAQs page.
3. Simply Orange
Simply Orange products have 50% less sugar than typical orange juice. While they do have a product containing calcium and vitamin D, much like Minute Maid, most of their products contain zero vitamins D. For that reason, except for that particular product with vitamin D, all of their juices should be vegan, even those with a reddish color since they don’t contain carmine.
Moreover, while the calcium lactate they use in their fortified products may seem like a red flag, the company has stated time and time again that this particular ingredient does not come from milk.
Similar to Minute Maid and Simply Orange, Tropicana has several variations of their orange juice, some of which unfortunately contain animal byproducts. The Omega-3 Heart Healthy Orange Juice, in particular, contains fish products and gelatin, which are non-vegan ingredients. Their Orange Strawberry Banana also uses carmine extract from insects, which is, again, not vegan.
But aside from these two products, all of Tropicana’s juices should be 100% vegan.
While there have been arguments recently that orange juice may prove to be harmful to health when taken in large volumes, that same argument is true for most foods and beverages. Orange juice is, in fact, one of the healthiest beverages you can drink regularly. But keep in mind that your body can only take so much. Experts suggest limiting yourself to around 8 ounces of orange juices per day.