Is fresh squeezed orange juice better for you than store bought?

Orange juice is a breakfast staple for many people. Walk down the juice aisle at any grocery store and you’ll see a variety of options – from frozen concentrates to fresh squeezed. While fresh squeezed OJ may seem like the best choice, is it actually better for you than store bought varieties? In this article, we’ll explore the nutritional differences between fresh squeezed and store bought orange juice to find out which one reigns supreme.

Nutritional Profile

When comparing the nutritional profiles of fresh squeezed and store bought orange juice, there are a few key differences to consider:

Vitamin C

One of the main benefits of orange juice is its high vitamin C content. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that supports immune function and collagen production. Here’s how the vitamin C content stacks up (per 8 oz serving):

Orange Juice Type Vitamin C
Fresh Squeezed ~70 mg
Store Bought (Not from Concentrate) ~60 mg
Store Bought (From Concentrate) ~50 mg

As you can see, fresh squeezed OJ contains slightly more vitamin C than store bought varieties.


Orange juice is also a good source of folate, an important B vitamin. Folate is essential for cell growth and DNA production. Here’s how the folate content compares:

Orange Juice Type Folate
Fresh Squeezed ~50 mcg
Store Bought (Not from Concentrate) ~40 mcg
Store Bought (From Concentrate) ~30 mcg

Once again, fresh squeezed contains slightly higher levels of folate.


Orange juice contains the electrolyte potassium, which supports heart health and muscle function. Here’s a potassium content comparison:

Orange Juice Type Potassium
Fresh Squeezed ~250 mg
Store Bought (Not from Concentrate) ~230 mg
Store Bought (From Concentrate) ~210 mg

Fresh squeezed provides the most potassium per serving.

Pulp Content

One of the biggest differences between fresh squeezed and store bought orange juice is the amount of pulp. Pulp is the fibrous portion of the orange – it contains beneficial fiber.

On average, one 8 oz glass of fresh squeezed orange juice contains about 2 grams of fiber from pulp. Store bought varieties tend to be more strained and contain little to no pulp or fiber.

The added fiber from pulp makes fresh squeezed OJ slightly more filling. Fiber also helps promote digestive health and can help lower cholesterol levels.

Processing Methods

There are key differences between how fresh squeezed OJ is made compared to store bought:

Fresh Squeezed

  • Oranges are washed, peeled, and squeezed
  • The juice and pulp go straight into the bottle
  • No heat or nutrient loss during processing
  • Enzymes remain intact

Store Bought (Not from Concentrate)

  • Oranges are squeezed and pasteurized
  • The juice is filtered to remove pulp
  • Processed using heat, which may degrade some nutrients
  • Enzymes deactivated during pasteurization

Store Bought (From Concentrate)

  • Water is removed to concentrate the juice
  • Stored for up to a year before reconstituting
  • Heavily processed using multiple heat treatments
  • Significant nutrient loss occurs
  • No enzymes remain

As you can see, fresh squeezed undergoes very minimal processing compared to store bought varieties. The pasteurization and concentration processes for store bought OJ may degrade vitamins, enzymes, and other heat-sensitive nutrients.


When it comes to taste and mouthfeel, fresh squeezed orange juice is generally preferred over store bought options:

  • Rich, natural orange flavor
  • Pulp provides added texture
  • Higher juice content for fuller orange taste
  • No added flavors or fragrances

Store bought orange juice may have a slightly diluted, bitter, or artificial taste in comparison. The heavily processed concentrate versions tend to lack in fresh, bright orange flavor.

Cost Comparison

There’s no denying that fresh squeezed orange juice comes at a higher price point than store bought:

Orange Juice Type Average Price
Fresh Squeezed $8-10 per quart
Store Bought (Not from Concentrate) $3-5 per quart
Store Bought (From Concentrate) $2-3 per quart

The higher cost comes from the labor, time, and volume of oranges needed to create small batch fresh squeezed juice. Large scale production brings down the prices for store bought.

Convenience Factor

In terms of convenience, store bought orange juice is the clear winner:

  • Found readily available in grocery stores
  • Long shelf-life in refrigeration
  • No preparation required
  • Available in single-serve and on-the-go packaging

Fresh squeezed requires either juicing the oranges yourself or purchasing it:

  • Juicing oranges at home is time-intensive
  • Purchasing fresh squeezed requires seeking out a supplier
  • Limited shelf-life
  • Not always available on-demand

For those crunched for time, store bought OJ offers the convenience advantage.


From an environmental standpoint, fresh squeezed orange juice may have a leg up:

  • Minimally processed
  • No concentrate processing or transportation
  • Locally produced in many cases
  • Can use organic oranges

Mass producing store bought orange juice uses more resources:

  • Growing oranges on large scale monoculture farms
  • Heavy industrial processing
  • Transportation of concentrate globally
  • Plastic packaging waste

So fresh squeezed OJ may be a better choice for eco-conscious consumers. But store bought brands are improving sustainability practices also.


So is fresh squeezed OJ ultimately better for you than store bought? In many ways, yes – it contains more beneficial nutrients like vitamin C, folate, and potassium, with added fiber from pulp. And it has an undeniably fresh, homemade taste.

However, store bought orange juice still provides key vitamins and minerals. The convenience and lower cost of store bought may outweigh the marginal nutrition benefits of fresh squeezed for many consumers.

As with most food choices, there are tradeoffs to consider between nutrition, cost, sustainability, taste preference, and lifestyle factors. But both fresh squeezed and store bought orange juice can be healthy options as part of a balanced breakfast. The key is looking for varieties with no added sugar or artificial flavors.

In the end, choosing fresh squeezed or store bought comes down to your budget, priorities, tastebuds, and personal needs. Either way, orange juice is a refreshing way to start your day!

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