P&G’s Sunny Delight is ‘Sunny Deception’, Accuses Florida

25 April 2002

Procter & Gamble’s strategic siting of its Sunny Delight soft drink brand [just 5% fruit juice] alongside 100% juice products in supermarkets’ cold food sections is “Sunny deception”, alleges the Florida Department of Citrus.

That body’s executive director, Bob Crawford, on Tuesday followed-up his recent accusation that P&G is misleading consumers into believing its brand is orange juice. If the detergents-to-diapers-to-foods giant doesn’t voluntarily mend its ways, he threatens, the state of Florida will instigate a lawsuit or complain formally to the Federal Trade Commission.

Crawford refers to a consumer survey (carried out by Peter D Hart Research Associates) which found that more than half of Sunny Delight buyers believe the product to be “half or mostly” fruit juice.

Not so, protests a P&G spokesperson, hands aloft in pious indignation: “We're very confident consumers understand Sunny Delight is a fruit drink and not fruit juice.” The label clearly states the drink has 5% fruit juice, she added, secure in the knowledge that few kids ever read the small print.

The spoke also claimed that P&G positions the brand alongside soft drinks and other youth-targeted fruit drinks rather than orange juice; while the company’s own research reveals that “there's not a substantial number of consumers who would substitute Sunny Delight for orange juice.”

Interestingly, last year in the UK, P&G increased the juice content of its brand from 5% to fifteen percent when a child turned orange after imbibing Sunny Delight. Her reaction was caused by carotene, a colorant derived from carrots. In the resultant furore, P&G hastily reduced the carotene and upped the volume of real juice.

Florida’s Crawford said he would settle for a similar hike in the drink’s real juice content, although the state would prefer 51% or more.

Data sourced from: AdAge.com; additional content by WARC staff