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

    • Kim Kardashian Concierge Reveals New Robbery Details: ‘They Weren’t There for Jewels’

      ET sits down exclusively with the concierge during Kim Kardashian's robbery, who recalls the terrifying events of Oct. 3.

      Entertainment Tonight
    • Michael Massee, Actor Who Accidentally Killed Brandon Lee During Filming of 'The Crow,' Dies at 61

      Michael Massee, the actor who unfortunately will forever be known as the man who accidentally shot and killed Brandon Lee on the set of the 1994 film The Crow, has died. Massee’s death was first announced by actor Anthony Delon and confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter by a representative of his agent at Greene & Associates in Los Angeles. In just his second movie appearance, Massee was playing a character known as Funboy when he fired a revolver that had been improperly prepared by crew members at Brandon Lee, the son of famed martial arts star Bruce Lee.

      The Hollywood Reporter
    • Angry grizzly bear charges couple twice; what they did possibly saved their lives

      John and Lisa Vandenbos were scouting for fishing spots along the Lamar River in Yellowstone National Park on Saturday when they spotted an adult grizzly bear feeding on a partially consumed carcass. The grizzly bear was obviously surprised and was in no mood to share in its bounty, so it immediately charged the couple, coming to within 9 feet, according to Yellowstone National Park spokeswoman Morgan Warthin. Fortunately, the couple from Bozeman, Montana, were prepared and both quickly discharged their bear spray. “The bear initially left,” Warthin wrote. “When attempting to charge the couple again, it ran into the original cloud of bear spray. Upon making contact with the cloud, the bear retreated

      GrindTV.com q
    • Self-made millionaire: Don't put money in your 401(k)

      Grant Cardone has other ideas about how to get well-positioned for retirement.

    • Larsa Pippen Cheated on Scottie Pippen With Future, Sources Claim

      Multiple sources tell Us Weekly that Larsa Pippen cheated on Scottie Pippen with rapper Future, which led to the former NBA star’s divorce filing — read more

      Us Weekly
    • Hillary’s 33,000 emails might not be ‘missing’ after all

      For months now, we’ve been told that Hillary Clinton’s 33,000 missing emails were permanently erased and destroyed beyond recovery. But newly released FBI notes strongly suggest they still exist in several locations — and they could be recovered, if only someone would impanel a grand jury and seize them. In a May interview with FBI agents, an executive with the Denver contractor that maintained Clinton’s private server revealed that an underling didn’t bleach-clean all her subpoenaed emails, just ones he stored in a data file he used to transfer the emails from the server to Clinton’s aides, who in turn sorted them for delivery to Congress. The Platte River Networks executive, whose name was

      New York Post q
    • Pot farmers worry legalization could end their way of life

      Laura Costa’s son and husband moved quickly with pruning shears as they harvested the family’s fall marijuana crop, racing along with several workers to cut the plants and drop them in plastic bins ahead of an impending storm. The farm, hidden along a winding mountain road in a remote redwood forest, is just one of many illegal “grows” that make up Northern California’s famous Emerald Triangle, a marijuana-producing mecca at the intersection of Humboldt, Mendocino and Trinity counties. California voters will decide Nov. 8 whether to legalize marijuana for recreational use — an issue that has sown deep division here among longtime growers. The Costas and many fellow pot farmers have yearned for the legitimacy and respectability that could be bestowed by legalization.

      Washington Post q
    • Tim Tebow answered Stephen A. Smith's dumb question with a riveting inspirational speech

      Hate on Tim Tebow all you want, but there’s no denying he’s one of the most motivational guys in sports — period. On Tuesday he appeared with Stephen A. Smith on First Take and dropped the best speech you’ll hear all week. When he was criticized for taking a long shot at making an MLB roster, Tebow dropped the hammer.

      SB Nation q
    • Woman writes bad Yelp review because of a bodega cat, and the internet destroys her

      Don't mess with the bodega cats. Walk into any corner store a.k.a bodega in New York City, and you'll find a variety of household goods, beer, probably a deli and almost definitely a resident cat. The cats keep the rats and mice away and in return, they get to hang out inside and take naps on the chip shelf. @georgeferrer A photo posted by Bodega Cats (@bodegacatsofinstagram) on Oct 11, 2016 at 4:54am PDT Usually New Yorkers tend to ignore that bodega cats may be a health code violation, because most people would prefer to see cats hanging around than rats. But recently, one Yelper decided to break the golden bodega cat rule, and gave S.K. Deli Market in the East Village a 1 star review after noticing her bodega had a cat chilling on a stack of Budweisers. Big mistake. Reviewer Diana D, who has since deleted her post, claimed she had ordered from the bodega before, but decided to pick up her food instead of getting it delivered. That's when she noticed the adorable cat protecting its store. You gotta be a miserable gentrifying ass bitch to yelp about the bodega cat pic.twitter.com/rinaytDanY — سنكامي (@SynKami) October 24, 2016 "Besides being allergic, I wonder what the health code say(s) about this?" Diana asked in her review.  Twitter user SynKami took a screen grab of the review and shared it to his followers, harshly calling out Diana  for complaining about the bodega cat. Twitter promptly erupted, and the tweet has racked up more than 7,800 retweets at the time of writing. @SynKami @asherahresearch does she realize the cat is there to keep the rats away. Dumbazz — jaja (@JaJasTweets) October 24, 2016 @SynKami tbh, I don't trust a bodega that doesn't have a cat — Carlos LaBestia (@Arturo_Ulises) October 25, 2016 S.K. Deli Market's Yelp page was flooded with positive reviews on Wednesday, supporting both the deli and cat, who's name is Ciao Bella, according to one Yelper.   According to a piece published in the New York Times about the controversy over bodega cats, fines could cost the bodega $300 to $2,000. However, a fine for rodent feces found in a store can also land a bodega with a $300 fine. "It’s hard for bodega owners because they’re not supposed to have a cat, but they’re also not supposed to have rats,” José Fernández, the president of the Bodega Association of the United States, told the New York Times.

    • Pollster Frank Luntz: The Trump campaign ‘is an absolute joke’

      Perhaps best known as the wordsmith behind many Republican talking points, Luntz had quite a few zingers about Trump, including one about the GOP nominee’s sometimes stilted delivery of prepared speeches. “Stevie Wonder reads a teleprompter better than Donald Trump,” he jested.

      Yahoo News
    • Sexy & Grey: 13 Women Who Prove That One Does Not Negate the Other (13 photos)

      Sophie Fontanel — Parisian Instagram star, fashion journalist, and author of T he Art of Sleeping Alone — has a thing or two to say about going gray. “Accept yourself and you will see a big change,” she tells Vogue in an Oct. 24 interview focused largely on her decision to stop coloring her hair. Fontanel, who is 54 and has more than 87,000 Instagram followers , takes Vogue readers through her own journey of acceptance that came after what she calls “living a lie” by never letting her roots show. After achieving literary fame in her 50s, she explains, she began noticing beautiful gray-haired women seemingly everywhere she went. She stopped one such woman in Los Angeles. “I was asking, ‘is it easy to be like you are?’ She said, ‘Yes. You know, before I was much more invisible and now I’m really someone strange. Everyone notices me,‘” Fontanel recounts. “Life is full of signs. Two months later I was in Rome. There was a second one. Then I was in St.-Tropez at a café and there was another woman with long white hair, very chic, in Valentino. She was very sexy. I [said], ‘Okay, you’re the third woman I’ve noticed, so tell me, does it take courage to get your hair?’ And she said, ‘No. It takes curiosity.'” The writer was emboldened by these other women, and, after some thought and convincing, decided to let her own locks go natural — but gradually, by growing her roots out slowly, and documenting the transformation on Instagram. Today, she says, she’s “happier than ever.” Check out to above slide show to take in the splendor of Fontanel and a dozen other courageous, curious, and sexy silver-haired women.  

      Yahoo Beauty
    • The 2017 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Nominees Are a Disgrace to Music

      Last week, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced 19 nominees for its class of 2017. Five of these nominees will be inducted into the Hall. I am certain many of the Hall’s members and voters mean well, and I have heard nice things about their museum (which I have not visited). But the Hall, as it exists now, is so deeply flawed that it risks not only having a lack of credibility, but also a lack of validity. In other words, it doesn’t just make mistakes; the mistakes seem to be endemic, built into the fabric of the organization. And you know what? Rock ’n roll deserves better. Rock ’n roll (by which I mean any and all manifestations of music-based expression and art, from King Oliver to Tony

      The New York Observer q
    • Family Heartbroken After 4-Year-Old Is Killed by New Dog Dropped Off Minutes Earlier

      The owner reportedly dropped the dog off less than an hour before the attack.

      Inside Edition
    • Royal feud – why Prince Charles won't allow Beatrice and Eugenie to be pampered princesses

      This question has reportedly left the Queen's two sons, Princes Charles and Andrew, at loggerheads. It also requested that Beatrice, 28, and Eugenie, 26, be granted better accommodation at Kensington Palace – because they are currently tolerating "small" apartments at St James' Palace. The Queen is said to have been "stunned" by her son's proposition and left it to her private secretary Christopher Geidt to sort out.

      International Business Times UK q
    • World Series of Poker player lectures another about being a bully

      Poker is generally a quiet game with occasional banter, but Englishman William Kassouf just doesn’t shut up.

      Sporting News
    • National Geographic 'Afghan girl' arrested in Pakistan

      An Afghan woman immortalised on a celebrated National Geographic magazine cover as a green-eyed 12-year-old girl was arrested Wednesday for living in Pakistan on fraudulent identity papers. The haunting image of Sharbat Gula, taken in a Pakistan refugee camp by photographer Steve McCurry in the 1980s, became the most famous cover image in the magazine's history. Pakistan's Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) arrested Gul for fraud following a two-year investigation on her and her husband, who has absconded.

    • 'Nothing short of a miracle' how kids survived suicidal bridge fall with dad, police say

      "When the officers found the children -- conscious and alert -- it's nothing short of a miracle, that's for sure," said Captain Christopher Depuyt with the Pequannock Police Department.

      WABC – NY
    • IT HAPPENED TO ME: My Boyfriend Turned Out to Be a Slumlord

      In March of 2016, Malcolm* and I decided to move in together. We’d been dating for just about four months. It was alarmingly fast, but it felt right. We spent just about every waking second together.We met on Tinder and had an instant connection, even though our personalities were a bit mismatched. ...

    • The Revolt of the Conservative Women

      The 2016 presidential campaign kicked off in earnest with a clash between Megyn Kelly and Donald Trump over gender and conservatism at the first GOP debate, and now there’s another Kelly moment to bookend the race.

      The Atlantic q
    • Bella Hadid’s New Haircut Just Changed Her Entire Look

      Bella Hadid has the kind of face that looks just as beautiful under crazy runway makeup or interesting wigs—she could probably even wear a paper bag over her head and somehow remain recognizably stunning. But her latest hair update (thick-yet-wispy bangs with longer face-framing sides) just changed her entire look in the most unexpected way. Is it just […]

      The Zoe Report