Do you know what's in your kid's juice box?


If it isn't enough that just about every bottle of apple juice on the store shelves is derived from a powdery concentrate shipped in 55-gallon drums from China, have a look at where the liquid inside all those variety of flavors of juice boxes come from. If you actually care where what your kids are drinking comes from, you might want to take a peak.

It's quite often a challenge to find nation of origin labeling. It can be on the outer packaging of a case, the ingredients label or stamped in some very hard to find spot. The thing is apple juice concentrate is used in almost every kind of juice box. It can be in grape juice, fruit punch, mixed berry. It really doesn't matter. It's cheap and adds flavor.

Here's what I found in a recent scan of the store shelves:

Minute Maid uses a catch-all label. What's inside its juice boxes can come from Argentina, Austria, Chile, China, Turkey and even the U.S.A. Juicy Juice in very conspicuous labeling on the outside of a case of mixed flavors is stamped "Argentina." Apple & Eve (and its Sesame Street brand) juice boxes feature concentrate from Argentina, China and the U.S. while its organic line derives from Turkish apples. Many companies, Apple & Eve included, say they use U.S. apples when they are seasonally available.

These days it certainly is a challenge to find a kid's fruit drink that isn't made from some concoction that begins in a country far, far away.

Among the options are those that don't make fruit juice their main component. Hi-C, for instance, relies on corn syrup for its taste. So, you have to decide whether corn syrup trumps foreign fruit concentrate. And then there's Honest Kids, an organic line available at a decent price at Target and a better price at Sam's Club that uses more sugar than fruit (but less sweetener than many competitors), but also dodges the temptation to use Chinese apple juice concentrate. Instead, that brand flavors with several organic juices.