Japan Today
Image: SoraNews24

Tropicana’s Japanese licensee in hot juice for cartons that boast '100% Melon Taste'

By Master Blaster, SoraNews24

Advertising often involves bending reality just enough to entice people to a product without getting in trouble for outright lying. For example, back in the day McDonald’s Japan got in trouble with the Consumer Affairs Agency for the Roast Beef Burgers by showing an image of a knife carving into a round roast when the far less glamorous truth was that they were processed heat-fused pieces of meat.

Now, the agency has set its sights on Kirin Beverage, a major Japanese beverage company that also produces the drinks sold under the Tropicana brand in the country. The offense in question came from their cartons of Tropicana 100% Real Fruit Experience Melon Taste that was sold from June of last year to April of this year.

The carton has pictures of melon prominently displayed with “select musk melon,” “100% Melon Taste,” and “Melon Taste Fruit Juice 100%” written in various places. However, a closer look at the ingredients shows that it’s actually a blend of grape, apple, banana, and melon juices. To make matters worse, an investigation by the Consumer Affairs Agency revealed that of this blend, only 2 percent was actual melon juice.

Up until this point, you might have not even realized that there were both apple and grapes pictured on the original carton too. They were just pushed so close in the foreground that they were barely distinguishable, and a banana was stealthily positioned so as to resemble a melon rind at a passing glance. (See top photo).

Even sneakier, the claims of “melon taste” were written either in straight English or English rendered in katakana script. Granted “taste” isn’t a terribly difficult word for Japanese people to grasp, but it does make it easier to overlook. It was all enough for the Consumer Affairs Agency to deem Kirin Beverage in violation of the Act against Unjustifiable Premiums and Misleading Representations and issue an official order for the drink giant to knock off.

Kirin Beverage complied and redesigned the carton to remove all mentions of “melon taste” and replace them with “100% Fruit Juice” while also making the images of apple and grape more visible. The company also issued an apology: “We deeply apologize for the misleading display. We will further strengthen our checking systems for labeling and work to prevent it from recurring.”

▼ The new carton design


Readers of the news seemed less forgiving according to comments, with some calling for more in the way of penalties for such deception.

“I knew it! But even I didn’t expect it to be only two percent.”

“I just assumed all Tropicana was 100 percent…but ‘melon taste?'”

“I guess they’re not lying because it is 100-percent juice, but that’s a step over the line.”

“Always check the ingredients!”

“Just a warning? Don’t people get refunds?”

“It’s good to know that two percent was select musk melon.”

“Honestly, 100-percent melon juice would be pretty gross anyway.”

“No fines here?”

“They should have written ‘1,000-percent melon taste juice’ and then claim it was just a joke.”

“Even ‘100-percent melon taste’ is a bold claim considering 98 percent of it isn’t melon.”

I too was wondering if they could even make a claim of “100-percent melon taste” without it being 100-percent melon juice. Then again, in this age of KitKats that taste like sake and corn snacks that taste like Mountain Dew, anything is possible I suppose.

Going by the ingredients, Kirin didn’t seem to make any changes to the drink itself, just the package. So in the true spirit of journalism, I drank some juice.


It was delicious, and therein lies the problem.

I don’t really like melon all that much, so I probably wouldn’t be crazy about a “100-percent melon” juice or even a “100-percent melon taste” juice. But this was quite good and had that characteristic tanginess of apple and grape with a noticeable mellow undercurrent of banana.

The melon flavor was present, but definitely not 100 percent…maybe 40 percent or so if I had to make a call on the spot. I guess you could argue that of that 40-percent melon taste 100 percent of the melon taste was in fact melon taste, but Kirin Beverage made the right move to just abandon all this twisted logic and call a fruit juice a fruit juice.

Sources: NHK, Hachima Kiko

Images: ©SoraNews24

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- We try “Melon Bread Style Toast Spread”, designed to turn sliced bread into melon bread

-- 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.

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It isn't even 100% fruit juice. It CONTAINS 100% fruit juice and that's the cheat they use. Kirin isn't alone in this.

7 ( +11 / -4 )

It’s so obvious, it’s stupidity by Kirin.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

I’m surprised people even fell for that. In the end, make your own fruit juices, it’s better, less sugar and you actually know what your getting, healthier for sure, it might be a hassle, but in the end it’s worth it and your body will thank you for it, and if you do decide to buy store bought juice read the labels carefully, there are a few freshly real squeezed juices, but because they don’t have any preservatives, and they have a shorter shelf life.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Tropicana’s Japanese licensee in hot juice for cartons that boast '100% Melon Taste'

OK why does the tittle scream Tropicana then the article waits until half way down to discreetly write it is the GIANT Kirin company that is in trouble?

A more appropriate tittle would have been:

"Kirin in hot juice for boast of 100% melon Tropicana "

8 ( +11 / -3 )

Read the cartons of most "Grape juice" that says "100% fruit juice" most contain primarily Apple juice and a much smaller percentage of grape juice.

This is something in my place we need to read carefully as my son cannot have apples and my wife cannot eat most fruit like apples pears, peaches, cherry etc.. grapes, Orange, lemon, blueberries, strawberry, etc..are fine.

So most lemonade or lemon drinks in Japan that say 100% juice will be 2% to very maximum 10% Lemon and the rest Apple Juice just like grape juice.

Buyer beware.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Classic deceptive marketing strategy with a place for plausible deniability. They always place the filler fruits in the corners of the box where the customer would pay the least attention. Gotta pass a law where the percentage of ingredients is in the front center.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Just made several bottles of watermelon juice. 100% and I drink with 50% Tansan water.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

At least not as bad as the good old days when ‘juice’ was around 2 or 3 per cent and the rest was flavoring and water.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Tropicana’s Japanese licensee in hot juice

i see what they did there………pretty sneaky sis.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I remember finding


100% Fruit Juice

I thought 100% Mango Juice seemed unusual. I asked someone to read the ingredient for me as I don't read Japanese. It may have been 100% fruit juice, but it seemed that most of the juice was not Mango but apple or grape. I asked the shop about it and got the shop to phone the manufacturer and find out the percentage of mango juice. The manufacturer said they didn't know, they refused to give a figure.

I have also wondered how you can have 100% meat hamburgers that are in a bread roll.

It seems there is very little consumer protection in Japan.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

60% of the time it tastes like melon all the time. Lol.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Tropicana’s Japanese licensee in hot juice for cartons boasting '100% Melon Taste':

Basically most ads lie everywhere everytime, often hidden in sweet promises & enticing languages.

To say some manufactured products are 100% authentic seems to have gone too far.

Don't 100% trust business people..

2 ( +3 / -1 )

So, someone expects this company to tell the truth when they all do it? Anyone old enough to buy this stuff should know this has been going on since even before Anita Bryant was shilling for Tropicana.

We will further strengthen our checking systems for labeling and work to prevent it from recurring.”

It's still early but this is the best laugh I've had today. That translation may be off but to me this reads as, "We got caught and have fired the fools who let it happen and caused us embarrassment. The new people will work extra hard to make sure we don't get caught again."

4 ( +5 / -1 )

The new people will work extra hard to make sure we don't get caught again."

In other words; you ain’t seen nothing yet.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

It is a pity there so little consumer protection indeed.

Obviously this is a physical lie since you have other flavours with other fruits. It is not even possibly subjective.

The other worrying part is the quantity which undergo shrinklation for everything.

I even think sometimes you don´t get the weight.

In any country respectful of consumer, the price per kilo or L shall be indicated.

For instance, this carton is just 900 ml written in small. Some remember that that size did not exist before.

Why is Japan stuck at the time of Archimedes and the golden crown story ? (3rd century B.C).

3 ( +4 / -1 )

It isn't even 100% fruit juice. It CONTAINS 100% fruit juice and that's the cheat they use....

Folks should learn to read, and write it seems!

Contains 100% fruit juice. Yup, that's a fact!

It isnt even 100% fruit juice. So which is it? 100% fruit juice, or NOT 100% fruit juice?

Perfect example of talking out of both sides of one's mouth at the same time!

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

In Japan, fruit drinks with 100% fruit juice can show a cross section of the fruit on the packaging.

If it is not 100% said fruit juice they are only allowed to show the whole fruit. In this case, that's what they did. They won't get in any trouble in the end.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Stick to water, coffee and beer and you will live to 100 years old with no diabetes.

100% incorrect.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

If it is not 100% said fruit juice they are only allowed to show the whole fruit. 

If it's not 100% they have to add what percentage of actual fruit juice is in the drink.

What you wrote here makes no sense. Think about it.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

It's 100% something alright.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

If you can taste the melon, then isn't that melonious enough? 2% may be enough to give you a 'melon experience', particularly if it is 2% melon concentrate. You probably wouldn't want it to be any more melonish than that, as melon juice is no great shakes.

If it was 2% garlic, I'm sure that would be enough for a distinctive taste.

It would be lovely if advertising had to be 100% accurate and brutally honest: Buy our new iPhone you gullible mugs, and show the ladies you have enough spare cash to waste on a bumpgrade.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It is still misleading as it should be cald not 100% fruit juice but Mix juice. Obviously they are playing with the human interpretation of seeing images and making associations!

I like their juices but long time ago I have noticed that mango, peach and melon are actually mostly apple and grape mix juice with addition of the mentioned more expensive fruits for flavor.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

quick easy solution, let's just quit drinking fruit juice altogether...100% or not, it is not good for health anyway...

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

It's amazing how Japan gets away with a lot of dis-information in their marketing ploys. Most of the adverts would be crucified in Australia (I'm sure other countries are just as strict). The 100% juice farce has been going on since I lived in Japan for more than 30 years. But the most disturbing advertising ploys are the restaurants that serve meals that look nothing like the adverts, especially when it comes to proportional sizes.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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