Taste test: Best and worst juice boxes for your kid’s lunchbox

The Daily Meal

View gallery

V8 Fusion Apple

(V8 Fusion Apple / Photo courtesy of V8)

What are the best-tasting juice boxes? The Daily Meal’s editors put them to the test.

The juice box has been a lunchbox staple for a long time, providing kids with the hydration and nutrition necessary to get through the school day — or so parents thought. Recent studies on the dangers of drinking too many high-sugar, high-calorie beverages have helped to steer parents away from the mighty boxes.

There are more types than ever on the market today, promising everything from great to great nutrition, all wrapped up in a sensible serving size. Yet sensationalist claims scream at you from the box, making it difficult to figure out which ones offer real nutrition and which don’t. Then, of course, there is the matter of taste. Just because a drink with carrots and berries is appealing to Mom or Dad, doesn’t mean a kid is going to like it.

When choosing a juice box, it’s helpful to remember a few juice guidelines, as suggested by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Infants less than a year old should not be drinking any , kids ages 1 to 6 years old shouldn’t exceed 6 ounces of fruit juice per day, and older children from ages 7 to 18 shouldn’t consume more than 8 or 12 ounces per day, ideally divided into two servings. Along with causing weight gain, excessive juice consumption can lead to cavities, malnutrition, and diarrhea. If you have more concerns about your child and fruit juice, it’s best to talk to a pediatrician who knows you child and their specific case. 

In order to figure out the tastiest, the sweetest, and the weirdest options out there, The Daily Meal editors taste-tested 10 different brands. For this test, we looked at fruit punch varieties from major brands available across the U.S., none of which contained high-fructose corn syrup. Some drinks had sneaky portions of vegetables added in and some were diluted with water, and although the juices are high in sugar, most of the sugars are naturally occurring and provide a way to increase fruit (and possibly vegetable) intake with little effort. 


Whole Foods Fruit Punch 80%
Back to Nature Fruit Punch 75.1%
Apple & Eve Very Berry 71.1%
Earth Wise Orchards Red 70%
Trader Joe's Fruit Punch 69.2%
Capri Sun Super V Apple 67.2%
V8 Fusion Fruit Punch 64.5%
Honest Kids Fruit Punch 63.9%
V8 Fusion Apple 58.2%
RW Knudson Sensible Sippers 56.9%

After the taste test there were clear passing grades, and some failing grades. (After all, our taste buds have matured a bit since the days of juice boxes at lunch.) The others got lost in the middle of the pack. The editors ranked them on a scale from 60 to 100 percent (just like you’re back in school!).

V8 Fusion Apple - Score: 58.2% (Pictured above left)

While this one also ranked pretty low, it wasn’t quite as reviled as RW Knudsen Sensible Sippers Fruit Punch. The highest mark it received was a 75 percent.

The main issue was its cloudy, artificial appearance. While the neon orange color might not be an issue in a box, no one could properly guess the taste, with ideas ranging from pear to banana. Even if you’re eager to sneak some vegetable servings into your juice consumption, there are tastier vegetable juices to choose from.

As one tester summed up, the juice "smells awful, looks awful, very artificial." Guess this won’t be making the tyke’s lunchbox.

1 Juice box (6.75 ounces): 60 calories, 12 grams of sugar

(See more: The Best and Worst Frozen Waffles)

View gallery

Honest Kids Super Fruit Punch

(Photo: Courtesy of Honest Teas)

Honest Kids Super Fruit Punch - Score: 63.9%

Honest Kids ranked quite a bit higher than V8 Apple and Sensible Sippers, but its watered-down taste was its downfall.

The editors didn’t appreciate the diluted flavor, calling it "creepy diluted," and complained about a strange sweetness that "tastes vaguely like bubblegum." Some taste-testers also commented on a tropical flavor with hints of coconut and pineapple.

In addition to the low calorie count, this juice box contains the lowest amount of sugar, along with a variety of fruit juices.

1 pouch (6.75 ounces): 40 calories, 10 grams of sugar

View gallery

V8 Fusion Fruit Punch

(Photo: Courtesy of V8)

V8 Fusion Fruit Punch - Score: 64.5%

Scoring quite a bit higher than V8 Fusion apple juice, V8 fruit punch got an average of a 64.5 percent score.

With a taste that wasn’t as sweet as the other V8 — several tasters noted a salty flavor — it’s a better choice if you’re looking for a fruit-vegetable juice hybrid. There was a moment of redemption for V8 Fusion fruit punch with the note "tastes like a lollipop." Still, editors commented on its cough medicine, "Robitussin flavor," which caused V8 fruit punch to lose major points.

1 Juice Box (6.75 ounces): 70 calories, 17 grams of sugar


View gallery

Capri Sun Super V Apple

(Photo: Courtesy of Capri Sun)

Capri Sun Super V Apple- Score: 67.2%

Landing in the middle of the pack, Capri Sun (the drink of many editors’ childhoods) earned points for its notably fruity flavor.

Some editors thought it tasted almost grape-like, while others noticed a hint of cherry. People found this one pretty inoffensive and "middle of the road"; it’s a safe bet your child won’t mind finding this in their lunchbox.

A word of warning: the straw is tricky.

1 box (6 ounces): 70 calories, 14 grams of sugar

View gallery

Apple & Eve Very Berry

(Photo: Courtesy of Apple & Eve)

Apple & Eve Very Berry- Score: 71.1%

Apple & Eve’s Very Berry juice box broke the top three with a score of 71 percent.

Editors found it to have an inoffensive flavor that was sweet, without being overkill. With comments like "decent," "meh," and "middle of the road," this juice box won’t be winning any flavor contests, but it also won’t make you sick. It’s a safe bet that your kid won’t complain if this is in their lunch box.

1 box (6.75 ounces): 100 calories, 21 grams of sugar

View gallery

Back to Nature Fruit Punch

(Photo: Jane Bruce)

Back to Nature Fruit Punch- Score: 75.1%

This was one of the high-scorers, and our editors enjoyed a flavor that was more potent than the ones they had previously tasted.

Despite the more powerful flavor, our editors still complained that this juice was too sweet, describing it as "sugar water," and "pretty sweet but tasty."

Two people gave this juice box a score of 90 but some low scores in the 60s brought its average down. While it had a more powerful taste, many editors also noted that it was still a bit too sugary. (And with a whopping 19 grams of sugar, we can imagine why.)

1 pouch (6 ounces): 80 calories, 19 grams of sugar

See More of the Best and Worst Juice Boxes

More from The Daily Meal:

Learn What's Really in Your Juice

17 Most Awesome Ice Cube Trays

The Best and Worst Bottled Waters

Sorry you didn't like this comment. Please provide a reason below.

Are you sure?
Rating failed. Try again.
Request failed. Try again.
We will promote constructive and witty comments to the top, so everyone sees them!
Sorry, we can’t load comments right now. Try again.

    Recommended for You

    • There's a chance Eric Trump hasn't paid for a cup of lemonade for years

      Eric Trump appears to have committed one of the cardinal sins of fast food: Putting a soft drink in a free water cup. The noted map enthusiast was caught with a clear cup of lemonade in his hand at an In-N-Out restaurant after Wednesday's presidential debate.  Although Trump's stolen beverage was conveniently absent from his own Instagram photo, the truth emerged when he took a a pic with another customer...who is now an inadvertent whistleblower. SEE ALSO: The Trumpkin is back to make Halloween terrifying again this is a photo of my homey grant with trumps kid at in-n-out & trumps kid is drinking lemonade outta the free water cup... pic.twitter.com/Npuqte5e2b — Kush Vonnegut (@xwnklmnx) October 20, 2016 For the record, In-N-Out confirmed to BuzzFeed that clear plastic cups are indeed for water only, so Trump was clearly on the wrong side of the law here. But after seeing something as viscerally disturbing as this theft, it's natural to still have a few questions. For instance:  Why did Eric Trump elect not to buy a cup of lemonade? Has Eric Trump ever paid for a cup of lemonade? Has his wife's purchase of a drink created a loophole that allows Eric Trump to take some of her drink and put it in his cup? Can a nice cup of lemonade, one of our society's best achievements, ever truly be owned? How do you celebrate after a big @realdonaldtrump win?! #InNOut #teamtrump #MAGA  A photo posted by Lara Trump (@laraleatrump) on Oct 19, 2016 at 9:53pm PDT Anyway, stealing a fountain beverage is an unforgivable offense and we cannot imagine ever doing it. Ever.  Nope, we have never done this.

    • New Details on the Mysterious Death of Couple Who Died Before Eating Takeout

      Cameron and Courtney Hulet were found mysteriously dead beside a dinner of uneaten Taco Bell in Dundee, Michigan, on October 18 — get the details 

      Us Weekly
    • Donald Trump has a small lead in 3 national polls

      Donald Trump found himself ahead in three national polls Friday morning. The Republican...

      Business Insider
    • Young Married Couple Found Dead at Home

      A neighbor originally called the police because she was concerned they'd been sleeping in the same position for hours.

    • Deer walks up to hunter and demands head scratches

      Hunter Jordan Maxon from New Richmond, Wisconsin, had a very odd encounter with a very friendly deer.  After setting up a deer stand in a clearing, Maxon looked around to see if any wildlife had wandered into the area before he started hunting. That's when he noticed a buck about 70 yards away.  "I figured I'd wait for him to leave the clearing, however, after five minutes of standing there, he wouldn't leave," Maxon explained on YouTube.  SEE ALSO: Deer fearlessly leaps through house window, becomes viable stuntman Instead of leaving, the buck approaches Maxon, who gently convinces the dear to come a bit closer with noises you'd use to coax a cat or dog.  The deer comes so close that Maxon is

      Mashable q
    • Jennifer Garner carries her daughter’s school project for her, we’ve never been more obsessed with a photo

      Jennifer Garner is a bonafide super mom. She’s raising her two daughters, Violet and Seraphina, alongside ex-husband Ben Affleck, and she manages…

      Hello Giggles
    • Expectant Mom Janet Jackson Is Glowing as She Steps Out Alongside Husband Wissam Al Mana

      At one point, the mom-to-be rested her hand on her stomach. This is the first time the pair has been spotted publicly since E! News learned of Jackson's pregnancy back in May. A month prior, the "Rhythm Nation" performer announced she was delaying her world tour to start a family, and it wasn't until the Oct. 24 issue of People, that she finally addressed the welcome addition, saying, "We thank God for our blessing." On Wednesday, the notoriously private celeb visited a florist near Regent's Park in North London where she spent 10-15 minutes looking at various arrangements before settling on a "few types of flowers" and departing in her chauffeur-driven car.

      E! Online q
    • Investigator Claims 'Ufo Wreckage' Is Evidence Aliens Visited The Earth 250,000 Years Ago

      The discovery of an ancient piece of aluminium is being hailed as evidence that aliens visited Earth 250,000 years ago. The mysterious hunk of metal was found in Romania during the 1970s, when the country was under communist rule. Now tests at a lab in Lausanne, Switzerland, have revealed that the strange fragment of metal is made up of 90 percent aluminium and is 250,000 years old. Aluminium was not produced by mankind until about 200 years ago, so the discovery of the large chunk that could be up to 250,000 years old is being held up as a sensational find. Gheorghe Cohal, the Deputy Director of the Romanian Ufologists Association, told local media: "Lab tests concluded it is an old UFO fragment

      Fox News q
    • Cosmopolitan
    • Girl Reportedly Died Taking an"Extreme Selfie"

      She allegedly sent the selfie to a friend right before falling.

    • Trump gains on Clinton, poll shows 'rigged' message resonates

      By Emily Stephenson and Amanda Becker NEWTOWN, Pa./CLEVELAND (Reuters) - Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gained on his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton among American voters this week, cutting her lead nearly in half, according to Reuters/Ipsos polling released on Friday. The polling data showed Trump's argument that the Nov. 8 election is "rigged" against him has resonated with members of his party. "Remember folks, it's a rigged system," Trump told a Pennsylvania rally on Friday.

    • Photos dropped in thrift box lead to prison for man who raped toddler

      A worker at a South Side thrift store was shocked to discover that a tote bag placed in a donation box at the store in May contained photographs of a man raping a toddler. Officers who were called to investigate found that the bag also contained pay stubs and mail that led them to Gary Sovie of Ashville in Pickaway County. Sovie, 49, confessed when confronted with the photos. "I'm a very sick person," Sovie told detectives, explaining that he took the Polaroids while sexually assaulting the girl. Today, he was sentenced to 17 years in prison after pleading guilty in Franklin County Common Pleas Court to one count each of rape and pandering sexually oriented matter involving a minor. Judge Julie

      The Columbus Dispatch q
    • Pakistani tea seller turns model after fame on social media

      ISLAMABAD (AP) — A Pakistani tea seller with striking eyes who saw his life change overnight after a picture of him at work went viral, said Friday he was totally unaware of social media until recently, when boys and girls suddenly started thronging his tea stall to take selfies with him.

      Associated Press
    • 10 of Your Favorite HGTV Stars Reveal How They Were Discovered (11 photos)

      Ever wonder how all those now-famous realtors, designers, and renovators found themselves on TV? We asked some of HGTV's biggest stars how they got their start. From Country Living

      Country Living
    • Woman Carrying Skull on Stick Leads Police to Human Remains

      Police in Sacramento say human remains were discovered after officers confronted a transient woman seen carrying a skull on a stick Wednesday.

    • Amy Schumer’s Instagram post about the debate is the most accurate thing we’ve ever seen

      If it’s one thing we can agree on, it’s that Amy Schumer is a comedic angel sent from the heavens above. Girlfriend…

      Hello Giggles
    • Whoa: Has the mystery of the Bermuda Triangle just been solved?

      Stop and take a seat because the gravity of this news will probably pull you down anyway. According to The Science Channel,…

      Hello Giggles
    • U.S. warship challenges China's claims in South China Sea

      By Idrees Ali and Matt Spetalnick WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. navy destroyer sailed near islands claimed by China in the South China Sea on Friday, drawing a warning from Chinese warships to leave the area. The U.S. action was the latest attempt to counter what Washington sees as Beijing's efforts to limit freedom of navigation in the strategic waters, U.S. officials said. The Chinese Defense Ministry called the move "illegal" and "provocative," saying that two Chinese warships had warned the U.S. destroyer to leave.