Naked Juice: Ultimate in Greenwashing (GMOs and synthetic ingredients)

by Tim Trueman Naked Juice

Picture this. It’s 5 or 6pm. There is NO food in the house. I’ve been working all day teaching my students at school. Now I realize I need to make dinner, or bring my kids home from dance, and there is no food in the house.

So, like many desperate parents, we head to the grocery store. With hungry children. At dinnertime. Need I say more?

I have to say that at times like these I have grabbed for them a smoothie from the produce section. I know. They are not organic, but I thought, everyone once in a while, how bad could it be?

Yeah. Worse than I thought.

Turns out Naked Juice company (actually, it’s owner, PepsiCo) settled a class action law suit about its falsely natural and non-GMO claims.  The lawsuit alleges that the smoothies contain genetically modified soy, calcium pantothenate  (which is synthetically produced from formaldehyde), and other artificial ingredients on a product that is labeled “all natural.”

And we all know that GMOs  and synthetic ingredients are far from natural.

I am a huge proponent of reading ingredient labels. I write about greenwashing, whole food eating, and pesticides all the time. I’m embarrassed to say that I have purchased these every once in a while.

Not anymore, ever.

I was happy to hear about this class action lawsuit, settled this summer, where Pepsi-Co, makers of Naked Juice, will pay 9 million dollars to consumers. People  who purchased Naked Juices can receive some reimbursement (even without receipts) if they submited a claim before December 17th. I, unfortunately did not. I’m hoping some of you did– but I bet you didn’t.

Why? According to Max Goldberg of Living Maxwell,  this class action suit was not widely publicized by design and agreement from Naked Juice and the lawyers who settled the case. I keep up with these issues and I didn’t even hear about it. What does that tell you about the likelihood of average consumers hearing about this? Naked Juice wanted to product their bottom line and their reputation, so while this is a win against greenwashing and GMOs, it is a lose because most consumers never heard about it in the first place.

I’m hoping to change that (if only a little bit) with this post. Please, share it widely and tell your friends not to support this company. Even when you have hungry kids in the grocery store at dinner time.

I’m reminded of a quote from the film Super Size me, a quote from the lawsuit against filed McDonald’s on behalf of two overweight teenagers. It said in effect that it is well known that any processing of food makes it much unhealthier than the unprocessed version. What made me think that a mass produced, non-organic smoothie made from conventional fruits would be healthy?

So, the message to myself and others is: make it yourself. Avoid products that are not organic and simply say “all natural.” That means nothing.

And: avoid the store at suppertime. With hungry children.

What about you? Have you ever bought Naked Juice smoothies? Did you hear about the settlement?

Speaking of GMOs, did you hear about this conference?

Join author and activist Stacy Malkan and 10+ leading scientists, farmers, medical doctors, business leaders, advocates, and wellness experts about the genetic manipulation of our food system, how to avoid GMOs, and why this matters for the health of your family and future generations. GMOs: What You Need to Know starts January 27, 2014 – sign up for free here.

image:  by Tim Trueman on Flickr under CC



7 Responses to Naked Juice: Ultimate in Greenwashing (GMOs and synthetic ingredients)

  1. Your Organic Life January 24, 2014 at 2:39 pm #

    Thanks Katy. I did hear about the class action lawsuit and had even intended to submit a claim, but I totally forgot about it with the busy holidays.

    What bothers me more than that these ingredients are in the product is the greenwashing, claiming it to be all natural. I just have zero tolerance for companies that intentionally manipulate consumers.

    And than you so much for mentioning the "GMOs: What You Need to Know" virtual conference and making that tie in. I hope your readers will attend. It should be very enlightening.

    • Katy January 24, 2014 at 9:08 pm #

      Thanks for your comment, Danika! I can't believe I missed it– and I was outraged there was not more publicity. But I guess that was the point. The conference looks great– I am excited to attend.

  2. Lindsay January 25, 2014 at 2:56 pm #

    Katy, thanks for this good info. My mom taught me to eat my fruit and not drink it which has led me away from drinks like this. I personally just don't like the taste of Naked juice. I'm not surprised that they are greenwashed and thanks for bringing light to this issue. Finally, don't be so hard on yourself. So you and your kids gulp a few unpure calories from time to time… if it keeps them happy during a short grocery trip… oh well. 😉

    • Katy January 27, 2014 at 7:33 pm #

      Thanks LIndsay. Your mom sounds like a wise women. We love smoothie at our house and do make them a great deal. Now we'll make them all ourselves! And thanks for your comments about being hard on myself. I have a tendency to do that. 🙂

      Thanks again.


  3. juice beauty tinted moisturizer February 21, 2014 at 10:08 am #

    Great info. Lucky me I ran across your website by accident (stumbleupon).

    I have book marked it for later!

  4. jnjames0511 March 24, 2014 at 10:35 pm #

    Why are they still being labeled GMO, I just heard about this and rant to my fridge to look at the bottle and sure enough it still says non-GMO and no preservatives. It even says "we use the freshest, purest stuff in the world and leave out everything else. Isn't this still false advertising?


  1. The Naked Truth About Naked Juice: GMOs and More - January 27, 2014

    […] wasn’t going to write about this since my friend Katy over at Non-Toxic Kids did such an eloquent job covering all the bases. But then I decided to try to reach a few more […]

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