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More juice for Americans

Americans are drinking more commercially produced beverages than ever. Fruit juices in particular are growing in popularity, especially among children, according to recent surveys. Life-style changes, dietary concerns, and the shift in population ages have caused the upswing, says the United States Department of Agriculture. The new cardboard paper bottle, called the aseptic package, has also helped fuel the trend.

Consumers spent more than $6 million in 1983 on fruit juices in grocery stores, restaurants, and vending machines. That's more than 90 percent more than they spent in 1978.

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Orange, apple, grapefruit, and grape are the favorite flavors. Orange accounts for 64 percent of the market in gallons, and apple juice is second, according to Beverage World magazine.

Apple juice, available in single-strength or concentrated form in a wide variety of packages, has shown the most increase in popularity through sales. In 1983 consumers spent over a billion dollars on more than 3 million gallons.

Manufacturers say juice in shelf-stable bottles and cans maintains its quality up to a year; in the aseptic cartons, six months.

Juice in refrigerated cartons can keep its quality about 45 days. Refrigerated and aseptic cartons are coded with an expiration date. Past those dates, juice may ferment or break down. Frozen concentrate, if stored at zero degrees F., maintains its quality for about a year.

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