“ Brand: Tropicana / Type: Juice „
My attitude towards fortified foods tends to be quite laid back. If I'm expected to pay more for the privilege, chances are I won't bother since to my knowledge I'm not deficient in any vitamins or minerals and eat a balanced diet. But, I am aware that due to intense farming, some crops don't naturally contain all the vitamins they once did, so a freebie doesn't go amiss, and if the fortified version costs the same as the basic, I don't see any reason not to pick it up. That's how I ended up switching to Tropicana with Calcium: it costs the same as regular Tropicana here, so I thought I'd try it once to make sure it didn't taste horrible, and if I liked it, make it a permanent switch.
How It Compares
This Calcium enhanced version contains 110 calories per 8 oz serving (about 240ml - I have the American version so they don't use metric). That same serving gives you 35% of your daily Calcium, and 25% of your daily Vitamin D. Regular, smooth Tropicana has the same number of calories, but negligible Calcium (2% of RDA) and no Vitamin D. Even though it's Calcium that gets the highest billing, the Vitamin D is equally important as it's needed to absorb the Calcium and though you can get it from sun exposure, many believe it is better to slather on the sunscreen, and get Vitamin D in other ways. While both are noticeably below the 100% recommended for most people, they make a decent dint in the target and are especially helpful for those who avoid dairy.
I have been a regular drinker of Tropicana over the last 4 months because it's next to impossible to find regular (cheap) concentrated OJ here (at home, Tropicana is more of a treat for visitors or holidays). I didn't even realise that I'd opened the Calcium version the first time I had it - it tastes identical to the original version.
For those unfamiliar with fresh, pasteurised juices, the taste is much more intense than in long life ones. I guess there's a slight difference between fresh cartoned juices and ones you buy on the street, squeezed while you watch, but it is very slight, and the difference between these and the concentrated ones is much more marked. Tropicana orange juice is tangy and tart, and juicy and sweet. It even looks healthier than concentrated juices with a bright, warming yellow hue, and even in mid winter drinking it makes me think of light summer days, being outside in the sunshine.
I love the fresh taste of Tropicana, and it is thicker (and fruitier) than slightly more watery concentrated versions (even the 100% juice ones seem thinner) so it is more filling too. A glass of this is all I need before an early morning gym session, as it perks me up and gives me a natural, sugary hit.
I always go for the Smooth, and though the Calcium addition is available in both Smooth and Pulp-filled, they only sell the Smooth one here (lucky for me). I wondered whether the Calcium and Vitamin D might change the taste or texture. To be honest, I expected them at least to change the former slightly. But, I can detect no difference at all between the normal and fortified versions. The pack assures me the additions are there, but you'd never know from drinking it as either they are utterly tasteless, or any mild taste is completely disguised by the strong taste of the juice.
Overall with no difference in price or taste, there's no reason NOT to opt for the Calcium and Vitamin D enhanced version and it will certainly be the one I stick in the trolley from now on.