pierre laszlo

Orange Juice : Invention – Production - Imitation
This lecture will consider orange juice, not only as a drink, also as a commodity, as a chemical formulation, and as a cultural artifact. Some of the relevant facts are:
  • taken together, Florida and Brazil account for 90% of the world production;
  • in 1999, the average American drank 5.7 gallons;
  • the wholesale price is between $ 5 and 6 per gallon;
  • the US market alone is of the order of $ 9 billion;
  • in the UK, out of 21 samples of orange juice examined in 1990, 16 were adulterated;
  • the main adulterants are corn syrup and beet sugar.
Some of the issues, among quite a few, are:

  • the parallel with milk, which started being distributed to children in pasteurized form at about the same time, the early twentieth century;
  • the health value of «enrichments» such as calcium or vitamin C;
  • economic control of the market by major corporations, such as Coca-Cola and their Brazilian associates, Sucocitrico;
  • what makes a food or a drink become an integral part of a national identity ?
The story started at the beginning of the twentieth century with the devising of orange juice by the advertising tycoon Albert Lasker, together with the motto «Drink an Orange» for Sunkist. The talk will feature also the various means by which orange juice in its various forms, such as frozen concentrate, is made and is commercialized.