Coca-Cola won't say how it makes its best-selling Simply Orange orange juice, but one thing is for sure: It's not so simple. A new investigation by Bloomberg Businessweek shows that the Coke-owned orange juice brand that's billed as less processed version of Tropicana is in fact a hyper-engineered and dauntingly industrial product. The factory in Florida where the bulk of Coke's orange juice products are made sounds less like a bucolic grove where natural things grow than an oil refinery where natural things go to die. And yes, that includes the "Grove Made" variety.
The explanation behind Coke's complicated new orange juice scheme is nothing short of ironic. Basically, all of their customers are realizing the soda is really bad for you, so demand is shifting to healthy -- or at least healthy-seeming -- alternatives like juice. Coke also figured out that people are willing to pay 25 percent more for juice that's not processed, that is, not made from concentrate. Enter Simply Orange. It is indeed just oranges, but boy have those oranges been through hell and back. Coke calls the process Black Book, because it won't tell anyone how it works. The consultant that designed the Black Book formula will, however.