According to the USDA, one glass of orange juice contains nearly 15% of your daily value for potassium and over 200% in vitamin C. My nostalgic childhood memories sometimes harken back to a morning with a full glass of orange juice.
As I began to identify with the frugal life, I looked for anything and everything to cut back on, switch to, or remove. Rather than excise this wondrous nectar from my morning meal, I decided to opt for frozen juice concentrate versions. But, was it cheaper?
What exactly is frozen juice concentrate?
Juice is turned into concentrate by subjecting it to high heat under a vacuum (ModernMom.com).
Water is removed from the concentrated versions, with 65% sugar by weight leftover. After being concentrated, water is added back to the frozen solid and stirred. This replenishes the natural water levels and balances out the flavor.
The shelf-life of frozen juice concentrate lasts far longer than pre-made, liquid versions. In this frozen state, some can last a year or more. Stocking up on orange juice is as easy as buying a few cans – no longer having to run to the store as frequently for fresh juice.
What tastes better?
In my non-expert opinion, there’s no difference between boxed, liquid orange juice and its frozen counterparts. The mixing process can be a bit arduous for some, but after the juice is reconstituted and settled, it tastes like any other orange juice.
The goal is simply to save by making it yourself. To some, that’s enough not to buy it. But the couple minutes of extra time may make sense if you’re looking to save each time.
What’s more frugal?
Now, to the most important question of all: Is frozen juice cheaper? The answer: It depends. In my most recent visit to Target, I assumed that the frozen orange juice concentrate would be cheaper. The can cost $1.84. The box cost $2.44. The price difference seemed clear to me.
Unfortunately, it’s only by doing division that we find a different answer. The box is 64 fl oz. The can makes 48 fl oz. Dividing the box ($2.44) by 64 equals $0.0381 per ounce. Dividing the can ($1.84) by 48 equals about $0.0383 per ounce.
In my case, the winner was boxed orange juice. Target didn’t have a store brand, generic frozen juice concentrate. If it did, the price would’ve most certainly made concentrates the more frugal option. Make sure to find a generic option to save big.
What do you buy? Frozen or liquid? Concentrate or not-from-concentrate?
This is part of the “Money Mistakes” series, which documents frugal myths and strange purchases.
We don’t consume juice. I think its a highway to diabetes. I believe that the fruit should be eaten. Even if sugar isn’t added to the juice its still a lot of a single fruit even in small doses. You can see this by juicing your own. I find fruits enjoyable and don’t see a reason to drink juice.
I read the scientific or dr.’s POV on this from mercola where he shares this view.
Its certainly better than cola tho. I wouldn’t even consider drinking that.
Thanks so much for the article. Our favorite bulk warehouse has now stopped carrying frozen orange juice concentrate as one of our budget saving options. We’re now faced with this very great debate in our household of self proclaimed ‘sunshine in a cup’ consumers. We value the frugal choices we make as it affords us fuller opportunity in other areas of our lives. Be well.
Sam Lustgarten says
Absolutely! Glad this article helped you on your frugal adventure. 🙂
I couldn’t really believe it either, but from my initial investigations the prices were about the same!
Have a good one,
Why not fresh orange juice, shouldn’t it be far cheaper for the producer to just squeeze the juice into a bottle and sell it, than to squeeze it dehydrate it rehydrate it and then put it in the bottle? LOL?
You realize they do that so they can ship it more cheaply from one location to another, right? Oranges don’t grow everywhere in the United States.
‘Fresh’ orange juice is anything but fresh. Since they can’t just squeeze it and bottle it (it would spoil too easily), it gets treated like any of our other processed foods. Starting with a storage / pasteurizing process that leaves the juice flavorless and colorless, and ending with an engineered ‘flavor pack’ that gives it the signature flavor and color.
Ever wonder why each bottle tastes the exact same?
The 64 0z. carton has recently changed to a 59 0z. carton. Refigure!!!
You must remember that there is a cost for water for the concentrate.
If you want to be more frugal, ignore the recommended serving size and add another can of water, the juice tastes fine. If you want to be super frugal, add two cans extra.
Yes! That’s what I do, except I actually use double the number of cans of water it suggests. I do this both to save money and to lower the sugar content down to a much more reasonable 10-12 grams per cup. It does taste watered down, but still very refreshing and I feel okay drinking a cup a day. I can’t bring myself to drink the full-flavored stuff that has 20 or 30 grams of sugar a cup!
You can also dilute it even farther until you have something that tastes more akin to what you get if you use a water infuser rather than juice. It’s also quite refreshing!