Tom Tom Tastes: Juice Boxes

Nearly everyone can say that when they were a kid, they drank juice boxes. But which brand of juice box is actually the best?

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Lila Heilig

Our winner was Kool-Aid, while our loser was Honest Kids.

Sometimes I find myself craving random things. One of those random things is juice boxes, and I decided that it was the time for myself and my fellow Tom Tom staff members to decide which juice box was truly the best. Five brands were put to the test: Honest Kids, Minute Maid, Hi-C, Capri Sun and Kool-Aid. To determine our staff’s favorite brand of juice, I poured a bit of each juice into several dixie cups and had ten staff members taste them. From those samples, each staff member chose their favorite juice; as a result, we were able to rank each juice by how many votes each brand received.

WORST: Honest Kids Super Fruit Punch

Honest Kids was the healthiest juice that we tried. It is organic and only contains nine grams of sugar, according to the Coca Cola products website. However, Honest Kids was the worst-ranked juice box in our taste test, receiving no winning votes. When I conducted my own blind taste test, I disliked the Honest Kids juice, and my fellow Tom Tommers’ reactions to tasting it were generally negative as well.

“The Honest Kids fruit punch juice box was pretty bad,” staff member Walker Winkler said. “It tasted very watered-down and didn’t have much flavor.”

In addition to the bad taste, the actual process of drinking the juice is complex. Puncturing the juice box with the straw was ridiculously challenging, and I can imagine that a five-year-old would struggle.

KIND OF BAD: Minute Maid Fruit Punch

While this juice was not as bad as the Honest Kids juice box, it was generally not a favorite. Only one person reported that Minute Maid was their favorite juice they had tested. Personally, I thought that Minute Maid was okay; however when I tasted it, I was confused. To me, it tastes a lot like apple juice, even though it is supposed to be fruit punch flavored. 

In addition to the odd flavor, this juice box is not the healthiest. According to the Minute Maid website, one fruit punch juice box has 19 grams of sugar added to it, and it is the most sugary juice box that we tested. However, one benefit to the Minute Maid juice boxes is how easy it is to drink them. It was easy to poke the straw into the juice box due to the simple packaging, which means that kids should easily be able to use them. 

 

OKAY: Hi-C Fruit Punch 

Hi-C took the third-place spot, receiving two winning votes in our taste test. In my personal taste test, Hi-C was also my third favorite. The flavor was a classic fruit punch, and it was not too sugary or artificial-tasting. Hi-C was staff member Daylia Brock’s favorite juice, and she thought that it had a unique taste.

“Hi-C was pretty good. It tasted warm, kind of like cinnamon, and it was pretty rad overall,” Brock said.

The packaging is almost exactly like Minute Maid. It was easy to puncture the box with the straw, and there were no challenges involved. According to the Coca Cola products website, unlike Minute Maid, Hi-C contains only 10 grams of sugar, and it was the second-healthiest juice that we tested. Overall, Hi-C was a solid choice, but it could not compare to our top two choices. 

SECOND PLACE: Capri Sun Fruit Punch Juice Pouches

Capri Sun was my favorite drink when I was a kid, and I can understand why it is still a popular choice. Capri Sun received three votes in our staff taste test, making it our second place winner. Capri Sun fruit punch has good flavors, with a large combination of different fruits and quite a bit of sugar. It may be artificial and sugary, but it works, and the general consensus of our staff was that Capri Sun was a pretty good juice box. 

“It tasted like childhood,” staff member Olivia Gerhardt said. “Capri Suns were always my favorite juice box and the taste test solidified the fact that they are my favorite.”

Even though the taste is good, the nutritious value of Capri Sun is not. According to the website Fat Secret, a pouch of Capri Sun fruit punch juice contains 16 grams of sugar, which is the second highest amount in all of the juices that we tried. Furthermore, actually getting the straw into the juice pouch can be a challenge. I have horrible childhood memories of kids stabbing through the back of a Capri Sun and having juice stains on their pants for the entire day. Due to this, one can argue that the packaging of Capri Sun juice pouches are not always kid-friendly. 

THE WINNER: Kool-Aid Jammers Tropical Fruit Punch

Kool-Aid was both the Tom Tom staff’s voted favorite and my personal favorite when I conducted my own taste test. It was delicious, and it had the clearest fruit flavors out of all of the other juice boxes. Staff member Patrick Sheehan chose Kool-Aid as his favorite because of the distinct flavors and because of his childhood. 

“Kool-Aid was my go-to drink when I was a kid, and I think that childhood nostalgia influenced my decision,” Sheehan said. “I recognized that the juice was Kool-Aid immediately, and it is my favorite.”

Along with the good flavor, Kool-Aid has a lower amount of sugar compared to the other juice boxes. According to the Kool-Aid website, only 8 grams of sugar are added to the Tropical Punch juice pouches. However, the second ingredient in the juice is high fructose corn syrup, which can be damaging to one’s diet. 

Similarly to the Capri Sun packaging, the Kool-Aid juice pouches were a bit flimsy, and there could be a risk of a child accidentally poking through the pouch with their straw; however, a large group of teenagers were able to handle it just fine. 

Overall, this Tom Tom Tastes revealed that our favorite juice box is the Kool-Aid Jammers Tropical Fruit Punch. However, everyone has different preferences and ultimately, no juice box is extremely healthy or beneficial. Every once in awhile, a good old taste of childhood nostalgia is just what one is craving, and a juice box is a good way to satisfy that need.