By Ed Rigg, Founder at Eager
This year we celebrated the 16th anniversary of Eager. It may be surprising that our humble juice company has been on the scene for that long, as our home delivery offering is considerably younger. But back in 2007, we made it our mission to bring high-quality ambient juice to the drinks trade, to help save fridge space, and do our bit for the planet in the process.
We’ve learnt a lot through Eager’s growth, and are proud to have been part of some important improvements within the industry along the way.
One big learning, however, is that there is still so much more to be done to change the way we make, sell and drink fruit juice.
How juice is made: chilled vs ambient
Juice that’s made on a commercial scale will never be an eco-friendly product.
By its very nature, it needs to be shipped around the world from more tropical climes, before it ends up in our fridges. But there are ways to make improvements to the process, which is something I’ve been forging forward since starting Eager.
For years, Big Juice companies have been refrigerating their juices in order to make them look fresher and healthier.
But, unless it’s literally squeezed in front of your eyes, your juice isn’t fresh.
The truth is, a carton of ‘fresh, healthy’ fruit juice has been pressed, packed, pasteurised and (often) shipped from the other side of the world, only to be re-pasteurised, re-packed, stored in refrigerated warehouses and transported in refrigerated trucks to your supermarket.
And our juice isn’t hugely different. Same fruit. Very similar process. But the fact that we use fully airtight cartons means our juices are ambient; removing all the unnecessary refrigeration from our supply chain and cutting our carbon emissions by roughly 25%.
If all juice brands in the UK joined us and removed unnecessary refrigeration from their supply chains, we could save 800,000 tonnes of CO2 per year - more than the annual output of 100,000 UK residents.
How juice is sold & drunk: Big Juice, big claims
We were aware of the impact that drinking too much fruit juice had on our health back in 2007.
Over the last 16 years that awareness has developed even further, although the perceived health benefits of juice still catch people out. Unsurprising really, when we’re still so often told by Big Juice brands that it’s “one of our five a day”. Even in May this year there were calls to extend the sugar tax on soft drinks to include fruit juices, in a bid to curb obesity in the UK.
It’s irresponsible to sugar-coat the truth when it comes to juice. Juices are made with fruit, and therefore sugar. They should be sipped and savoured, rather than guzzled down.
We’ve even used a whole side of our juice cartons (valuable packaging real estate) to remind customers to drink it responsibly and encourage others to join us in promoting juice in moderation.
As we like to say, enjoy in glasses half full, and drink every other day.
Choosing a juice like Eager that is stored in the cupboard rather than the fridge can help us drink it more responsibly. You know the trope - out of sight, out of mind. Particularly when it comes to older kids and teens who aren’t as likely to seek it out if it isn’t right there in front of them when they open the fridge.
Being able to store juice in the cupboard, in the same way we’ve learnt to store other treats, helps us all to make healthier choices when we’re hungry, thirsty or just tired.
Juice is delicious and refreshing, but if we all want to continue enjoying it, we need to make changes to do so more responsibly for our health and the health of our planet.
We’re working on some more improvements behind the scenes which I’m eager to share with you in due course. Until then, please drink responsibly…
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