What Is The Difference Between Juice, Nectar And Concentrate?

Would you like to supplement your healthy diet with fruit juices? But what is the difference between all the products in the fruit-decorated bottles and Tetra Paks – and which is better? Here comes the answer:


You probably know that freshly squeezed fruit or vegetable juice contains the most healthy ingredients. With any form of heating for reasons of shelf life, vitamins and other good ingredients are lost. With the products you buy, however, you should also pay attention to the difference in the declaration on the label.

According to the legal fruit juice and soft drink ordinance, a product may only bear the designation “juice” or “fruit juice” if it also contains 100% of the corresponding type of fruit or vegetable. There is a small difference between “direct juice” and “juice from concentrate”:

Direct juice

  • made from 100% fruit
  • Fruit pressed immediately after harvest
  • Juice is briefly heated to 80 degrees to kill germs

Juice from concentrate

  • made from 100% fruit
  • freshly squeezed fruit juice is boiled down until all the water has evaporated
  • thereby gaining concentrate (viscous fruit pulp)
  • the fruit’s own aroma is isolated by distillation (clear, strongly fruity liquid)
  • before bottling, the concentrate, pure water, and aroma are brought together again
  • Advantage: Saves transport and storage costs
  • Independence from harvest season
  • can therefore be sold more cheaply

With both types of fruit or vegetable juice you can be sure:

  • they are still reasonably rich in secondary plant substances, vitamins, and minerals
  • no addition of sugar, colors, or preservatives is allowed
  • additional vitamin supplements must be declared
  • Organic juices must not contain any additional vitamins

It only sounds better: According to experts, when it comes to health, it makes no difference whether it is direct juice or juice from concentrate: many consumers are still willing to pay more for direct juice bottling.

Tip: Naturally cloudy juice is actually healthier than clear juice. Many good ingredients are also lost during clarification and the clear drink only contains about 10% of the healthy plant substances of the original fruit.


In nature, nectar is a watery liquid rich in sugars. And it is exactly the same as the fruit nectar that you can buy on the supermarket shelf. Here the difference between juice is quite huge:

  • from 25-50% fruit concentrate
  • The prescribed proportion depends on the type of fruit/vegetable (the amount must be on the label)
  • Rest is water and sugar
  • may contain up to 20% sugar
  • may contain ascorbic acid, lactic acid, and citric acid (listing obligation for ingredients)

Info: You can only buy some types of fruit as nectar, as they can only be filled or eaten with additives: For example, viscous fruit such as bananas require additional water. Or very sour types of fruit such as currants or sour cherries are only edible with the addition of sugar.

Fruit juice drink

With this drink you bring the worst variant into the house: The fruit content is negligible compared to fruit juice, and the list of other ingredients is all the longer:

  • Prescribed fruit content between 6-30% depending on the variety
  • no limit on the amount of added sugar
  • for an intense taste, the addition of aroma extracts or natural aromas
  • may contain many other additives, except alcohol
  • important information about supplements is usually only in the small print

Be aware: a fruit juice drink consists of more than 70-90% sugared water.

Labels often deceptive

A great packaging design with lots of delicious fruit often pretends to contain more good ingredients than are actually found in it. “Made from 100% juice” is often capitalized. With other products, colorful fruits dominate and only “multivitamin” shines at you in striking letters. You then have to look for the addition of a nectar or fruit juice drink. So keep an eye out when buying juice! Since you now know the difference!

Would you like to make your own juice? Then take a look at our recipe for rhubarb juice.

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Written by John Myers

Professional Chef with 25 years of industry experience at the highest levels. Restaurant owner. Beverage Director with experience creating world-class nationally recognized cocktail programs. Food writer with a distinctive Chef-driven voice and point of view.

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