Group Protests Sunny Delight’s Deceptive Image

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Apr 25, 2002
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The Florida Department of Citrus, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), the Children’s Foundation, and the Center for Florida’s Children have formed an alliance of consumers, parents and child advocates aimed at ending Procter & Gamble’s (P&G) deceptive packaging, promotion and positioning of its “junk juice” drink, Sunny Delight. The Sunny Deception Campaign also launched a web site — http://www.sunnydeception.org — giving consumers a variety of ways to take actions to stop these practices.

Bob Crawford, executive director of the Florida Department of Citrus, and Michael F. Jacobson, executive director of CSPI, referred to new data from Peter D. Hart Research Associates, showing that P&G’s marketing of Sunny Delight is deceiving parents and children alike. “When asked about the real juice content of Sunny Delight, 65 percent of kids interviewed believed Sunny Delight is made mostly from real fruit juice. And 79 percent believe that Sunny Delight is real juice after seeing it placed next to orange juice in the refrigerated section of supermarkets,” CSPI and the orange growers say.

In March, Procter & Gamble rolled out a $17 million advertising campaign in Britain aimed at relaunching the drink, whose sales plummeted after a consumer campaign about its juice content got wide media coverage. It raised the juice content of the British product to 15 percent from 6 percent, removing some added sugar. A spokeswoman for the Florida growers and the CSPI said the groups hoped Procter & Gamble would do something similar in the United States. If not, she said, they would consider filing a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, which regulates advertising and labeling claims.

Moderator Comment: Should P&G either change the label or reformulate its Sunny Delight product based on the actions of the Florida Department of Citrus and the Center for Science in the Public Interest?

Suzette Middleton, external relations manager for P&G’s
food and beverage division is quoted as having said, “The fundamental principal
that Procter & Gamble always uses is the consumer is boss. When consumers tell
us they want something different, we listen.”

Translation: If the Florida Department of Citrus and
the Center for Science in the Public Interest are successful in getting consumers
to stop drinking Sunny Delight, P&G will change its formula. [George
Anderson – Moderator
]

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