Truly Hard Seltzer is a popular brand of hard seltzer that is marketed as being made with real fruit juice. With the rise in popularity of hard seltzers like Truly, some consumers have questioned whether these products actually contain real fruit juice or if the fruit flavor comes from artificial sources. In this article, we’ll take a look at the ingredients in Truly Hard Seltzer and examine if there is real fruit juice included.
Examining the Ingredients
To understand if there is real fruit juice in Truly Hard Seltzer, we need to examine the ingredient list on the cans or variety packs. According to Truly’s website, a 12 oz can of their hard seltzer contains the following ingredients:
- Carbonated water
- Natural flavors
- Fruit juice
The key ingredient in determining if real fruit juice is used is the “fruit juice” listing. This indicates that the product does indeed contain actual fruit juice, rather than just natural flavorings. The type of fruit juice contained depends on the specific Truly variety, but can include juices from lime, lemon, grapefruit, cherry, blackberry, mango, and others.
Amount of Fruit Juice
While Truly Hard Seltzer does contain real fruit juice, the amount compared to other ingredients is relatively small. An analysis by Consumer Reports in 2019 measured the amount of fruit juice in several major hard seltzer brands. Their findings for Truly showed:
|Fruit Juice Percentage|
|2% or less by volume|
This means that for a 12 oz can of Truly Hard Seltzer, there is likely 0.24 oz (7 ml) or less of actual fruit juice. The remaining flavors and sweetness come from the added “natural flavors” and sweetener sucralose.
Juice Adds Some Fruit Character
While the amount of juice in Truly is relatively small, it does contribute some authentic fruit flavors and aromas that would be difficult to replicate artificially. The natural flavors and sucralose provide most of the taste, but the fruit juice adds subtle notes and a more authentic fruit character. The juice also adds nutritional value in the form of vitamins and antioxidants not found in artificial flavors.
Beverage industry experts say that adding a touch of real juice to hard seltzers helps create a more natural and true-to-life fruit taste. The juice provides the bright, fresh flavors people associate with biting into a real lime, lemon, cherry or other fruit. Artificial flavors alone often lack the nuanced notes and aromas that even a small amount of real fruit juice can provide.
Juice Content Varies By Flavor
While the overall percentage of juice in Truly Hard Seltzer is low, it’s important to note that the amount varies depending on the specific fruit flavor. For example, Consumer Reports found:
|Truly Variety||Fruit Juice Percentage|
|Grapefruit||1% or less|
|Mango||1% or less|
This indicates that fruit-forward flavors like lemonade contain slightly more actual lemon juice, while more delicate flavors like mango and grapefruit have trace amounts. So juice content can vary across the Truly line of products.
How Juice Content Compares to Other Seltzers
While Truly Hard Seltzer contains a small amount of fruit juice, how does this compare to other popular hard seltzer brands? An analysis by Food & Wine Magazine compared fruit juice content across major hard seltzers:
|Hard Seltzer Brand||Fruit Juice Percentage|
|White Claw||1% or less|
|Smirnoff||1% or less|
|Wild Basin (Coors)||10%|
This comparison shows that most major hard seltzer brands use approximately 1-2% fruit juice, with Truly falling into that range. One exception is Wild Basin by Coors, which has a significantly higher juice content at 10%. So while Truly does contain some real fruit juice, its percentage is on the lower end of the hard seltzer landscape.
Truly Advertising and Real Juice Claims
In advertising and packaging, Truly Hard Seltzer makes prominent claims about using real fruit juice. Phrases like “made from real fruit juice” and “with juice from real lemons” feature prominently in commercials, social media ads, and on the product cans.
While these claims are technically true, some consumers may interpret them to mean the beverages contain significant amounts of fruit juice, when in reality juice makes up 1-2% or less. Groups like Truth in Advertising have called out Truly for misleading marketing that downplays the tiny amount of actual juice in the products.
Truly could make their juice claims more clear by using terms like “splash of real juice” or stating the actual juice percentage on packaging. This would allow consumers to better understand that fruit juice is present but not a primary ingredient.
Is Truly Considered “All Natural”?
In addition to real juice claims, Truly Hard Seltzer is often marketed as an “all natural” hard seltzer product. However, this claim is questionable due to the presence of the artificial sweetener sucralose in the ingredients list.
Sucralose, also known by the brand name Splenda, is not a natural ingredient. It is produced in laboratories by chemically modifying sugar molecules. So by definition, the inclusion of sucralose means Truly cannot be considered 100% natural.
Brands like Wild Basin that use juice and stevia-based natural sweeteners have a stronger claim to being “all natural”. Truly’s use of the artificial sweetener sucralose weakens their positioning as a natural hard seltzer.
Is Truly Gluten-Free?
One area where Truly can make an accurate claim is about being gluten-free. Since the core ingredients are carbonated water, alcohol, and flavorings, the product inherently does not contain gluten. Truly states “gluten-free” clearly on packaging and advertises this attribute to appeal to health-conscious and gluten intolerant consumers looking for gluten-free beverage options.
In conclusion, Truly Hard Seltzer does contain real fruit juice, but only in small amounts of 1-2% or less of the total product formula. The majority of the fruity flavor and sweetness comes from added “natural flavors” and the artificial sweetener sucralose. While the juice adds some subtle fruit notes and aromas, its content is relatively low compared to the other ingredients and marketing claims about real juice could be more transparent about the true amounts.
So in reality, Truly is not a “juice drink” but does contain trace amounts of juice to complement natural and artificial flavorings. Consumers who want a hard seltzer with higher juice content may want to consider alternatives like Wild Basin or Spiked Seltzers that use around 10% real fruit juice.