Photo: SoraNews24
business

Japanese makers of Tropicana fined ¥19 million for '100% Melon' juice with only 2% melon juice

42 Comments
By Master Blaster, SoraNews24

In September of last year, the popular juice brand Tropicana was put in the spotlight in Japan over a considerable bit of deceptive marketing. The matter was Tropicana 100% Whole Fruit Melon Taste, which you might assume is made of 100% melon by the name. In fact, you might even assume that from the carton on which only melon is clearly visible and phrases such as “100% MELON TASTE” are printed.

However, upon closer inspection, this product contains only two percent actual melon juice blended in with 98 percent apple, grape, and banana juices. With this realization, you might then notice that there actually is a slice of apple, a bunch of grapes, and a banana on the carton, albeit fairly well camouflaged among the melon.

▼ A news report from last year showing the old package design to people on the street who unanimously agree that it looks like only melon and is pretty “sketchy” overall.

By the time news of this broke, the Consumer Affairs Agency of Japan had already warned Tropicana’s Japanese licensee Kirin Beverage to stop the misleading packages. They complied and redesigned cartons with more prominently displayed apple and grapes and by replacing phrases like “100% MELON TASTE” with “100% FRUIT JUICE.”

▼ The redesigned carton with the apple and grapes more visible

Screen-Shot-2023-01-21-at-10.46.08.png

However, it appears that the Consumer Affairs Agency wasn’t quite done with Kirin and on Jan 18 ordered the beverage maker to pay a fine of 19,150,000 yen for violating the Act against Unjustifiable Premiums and Misleading Representations.

The figure was arrived at by calculating the sales of the product between June 2020 and April 2022, when the original package was in use. According to the Truth-in-Advertising Law, the fine should be three percent of that amount, or to put it another way, one percent more than the amount of actual melon juice in the drink.

When news of the fine was reported, online comments were surprised that Kirin had even gotten away with it for as long as they did. On the other hand, some comments came out in defense of the drink, saying that consumers should be more aware of what they’re buying.

“Wha?! I used to buy that a lot.”

“To be fair, they never did actually say ‘100% melon juice.'”

“At least give us like 50 percent…”

“It looks delicious, but this isn’t right.”

“It was written properly on the ingredient list, wasn’t it? It’s the people’s fault for not checking what they drink.”

“I always assumed major corporations like that were really cautious about this kind of stuff.”

“Pretty bold to try and sneak 98 percent of the juice past people.”

It is almost bizarre to be so misleading about something like this. Personally, I’d be more likely to drink the stuff had they never pushed the melon taste so much and been honest about it being a blend. In fact, I tried some last September when news broke and quite liked it, mostly because the melon taste was present but not overwhelming.

Screen-Shot-2023-01-21-at-10.47.56.png

It almost seemed like Kirin was doing more harm than good with the misleading labeling. But regardless, it’s good to know that the government is working to keep companies honest so we can be more confident about what we buy.

Sources: Mainichi Shimbun, Hachima Kiko

Photos ©SoraNews24

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- McDonald’s officially reprimanded by Japanese government for misleading “roast beef” ads

-- Melon bread: everyone’s favorite Japanese snack is actually one of the worst things you can eat

-- Starbucks Japan’s Melon Frappuccino: One of the most memorable drinks in recent history

© SoraNews24

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

42 Comments
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Now please go after all the businesses who mislabel food products stating they are "Made in Japan" but are actually imports, mainly from S.E. Asian countries.

15 ( +29 / -14 )

Well said, Yubaru.

I've never understood the clamour for such things made in Japan. Is that a positive thing?

-18 ( +10 / -28 )

It should be a crime for all those companies .

It IS a crime! Hence my comment!

Says 100% on the front however when you read the ingredients on the back it obviously is 100%

Huh?

5 ( +7 / -2 )

The weight and volume of food in a packet or carton is also very had to find sometimes.

Many times a carton is 3-4 times the size of the contents inside-seems like a con job…

7 ( +13 / -6 )

Selling snake oil.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

That l'll learn 'em!!!!

1 ( +5 / -4 )

98 percent apple, grape, and banana juices.

So it's not as if they just diluted it with sugar water and chemical flavors.

Inaccurate perhaps, but not evil.

1 ( +9 / -8 )

How about 100% orange juice? Is their 100% orange referring to the fruit or the colour?

7 ( +11 / -4 )

Ouch, Greed is NO GOOD.

Never had it as I do not drink any artificially flavored drinks, and if it sounds too good to be true I stay away.

But not only Tropicana is doing this , I am willing to say that probably most if not all are just as guilty!!

Water is always your safest bet even that can sometimes be misslabeled, LOL

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Suck it Tropicana.

What is going to happen to labeling herenext will be hilarious....

'80g Potato crisps' will become 'Some potato crisps.'

'Juice...and water'.

'Salt and cheese flavoring snack!'

5 ( +8 / -3 )

I hope they get started on the dubious Japanese “dairy” products too. Watery "yogurt" that contains a whole cocktail of "stuff." I even found a "Greek" yogurt that contained flour, presumably to make it look like it had been drained. Most commercial "yogurts" list "nyu seihin" (milk products) as well as "nama nyu" (milk,) but we don't know exactly how much milk there is in it and what these dubious "milk products" are. My guess is that it is whey left over from cheesemaking. This goes sour quickly, so they lace it with sucrose. One popular brand boasts a 17 day shelf life. There is NO natural yogurt that will last that length of time.

Processed cheese is sold as natural cheese because it CONTAINS natural cheese, not because it IS natural in a similar way to the carton above which implies that it IS melon juice, but in fact only contains a trace.

If you want real yogurt, make your own. If you want 100% fruit juice, buy the fruit and squeeze it.

That way you know what's gone into it.

8 ( +12 / -4 )

The taste was 100% melon, the juice was not

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

No ultra-processed juice is natural, nothing new...

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Any one tired drinking orange juice in Japan? 

It tastes like medicine even the ones that say is 100% no difference! I wander what crazy substances they use. I tried once I almost vomited, I stay away since then! They should be all investigated but it will never happen…

I've tried several brands in Japan, from the local conbini, Shizuoka, Ehime, and Gamagori. None of them are like what you described.

11 ( +15 / -4 )

You can find 100% good-tasting juices. We usually buy apple or grape juice. Will stop buying this brand.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

When foreigners first arrive in Japan they spend time making so many comparisons with their home countries but eventually, it stops and you just enjoy the best of what you can, or even sometimes just return home again.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

Companies will try and get away with as much as they can. And it doen't just happen in Japan. Apple: Designed in California. Clever!

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Mark - Never had it as I do not drink any artificially flavored drinks, and if it sounds too good to be true I stay away.

It's still 100% juice. Ergo, not artificially flavored.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

But not only Tropicana is doing this , I am willing to say that probably most if not all are just as guilty!!

Yeah, now that 100% olive oil you buy....... And so many suppliers and middle-persons now, almost impossible to find out for sure where it actually came from and if it is what they say it is. Honey is the same. Best buy only from smaller local sellers. Basically avoid anything from big multinationals now.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

wallace - You can find 100% good-tasting juices. We usually buy apple or grape juice. Will stop buying this brand.

It's still 100% juice. They were just being cagey about the amount of melon juice in the blend. They also sell 100% apple and grape juices, btw. And, they're quite tasty.

FYI - the Tropicana brand in Japan is licensed, sold, and in most cases manufactured in Japan by Kirin. The Tropicana products manufactured and sold in the US are labelled fairly clearly and accurately due to FDA food labeling regulations.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Why hasn't PepsiCo stripped Kirin of their licence to sell their brand name? Or does sort thing sit fine with them?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

100% melon juice would be well nigh undrinkable….

4 ( +5 / -1 )

100% melon juice would be well nigh undrinkable….

Totally agree!

3 ( +4 / -1 )

As other have pointed out this is far from being the exception, many other products have deceiving descriptions or imagery on their packing but nothing is done to correct this situation.

This case was different because a lot of people called attention to it as being too obviously misleading, if the authorities wanted to be actually responsible this would call for a reform about what can or can't be used to promote a product, but being Japan this is probably going to be the end of the situation and all those other misleading products will be sold as usual without anything being done about it.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

With small fines lack that you are basically inviting other companies to do the same thing.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Ignore the pack bling.

read the ingredients/content

consumers have responsibility too.

Most “fruit” chu-hi’s have around 2% fruit juice ( likely concentrated rather than fresh)

not rocket science

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Most “fruit” chu-hi’s have around 2% fruit juice ( likely concentrated rather than fresh)

Yeah and they are clearly marked as well as only having a small percentage of actual fruit juice. But this isnt about chuhai's, different subject altogether.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I'm actually worried about Fukishima products from the nuclear disaster area being mislabeled and sold to the public. Is it impossible to stop this?

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

100% fruit juice? Probably not even that is true, as almost all fruit juice sold in Japan contains artificial flavouring. But for whatever strange reason that seems to be legal in Japan. Always read the fine print.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I hope they get started on the dubious Japanese “dairy” products too. Watery "yogurt" that contains a whole cocktail of "stuff." I even found a "Greek" yogurt that contained flour, presumably to make it look like it had been drained. Most commercial "yogurts" list "nyu seihin" (milk products) as well as "nama nyu" (milk,) but we don't know exactly how much milk there is in it and what these dubious "milk products" are. My guess is that it is whey left over from cheesemaking. This goes sour quickly, so they lace it with sucrose. One popular brand boasts a 17 day shelf life. There is NO natural yogurt that will last that length of time.

Processed cheese is sold as natural cheese because it CONTAINS natural cheese, not because it IS natural in a similar way to the carton above which implies that it IS melon juice, but in fact only contains a trace.

If you want real yogurt, make your own. If you want 100% fruit juice, buy the fruit and squeeze it. 

That way you know what's gone into it.

Exactly! One of the few times I have to agree with you. I avoid pretty all Japanese made milk products for that reason. I either buy cheese imports from the US or Europe and I have a juicer and make my own juice daily.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

I finally figured out that it is better to eat the fruit than to drink the juice.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

This is proof that we can not trust food giants. What they put on the label are fake fake and lies, You thought the bottle of extra virgin olive oil was really 100% Extra virgin olive oil? think twice its diluded with fake vegetable oils. You thought that can of sardine said its soaked in olive oil but really its vegitable oil. How can you trust food corps.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

This is proof that we can not trust food giants.

No it's not. It's proof you can't trust this food giant. It doesn't prove anything about other food giants.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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