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The Secret Algorithm That Controls Everything About Orange Juice

Illustration for article titled The Secret Algorithm That Controls Everything About Orange Juice

If you ever wondered how orange juice can always taste so damn perfect every time you have it, it's because of an algorithm. Coca Cola, which makes Simply Orange and Minute Maid, has an algorithm called the "Black Book" which allows it to standardize Mother Nature. It's crazy.


We knew the odd process that orange juice companies followed to create consistently delicious OJ: strip the oxygen which strips the flavor and then artificially flavor the juice with "flavor packs" made by flavor and fragrance companies. What we didn't know was how amazingly detailed the algorithm used to figure everything out and how much it controlled of the OJ squeezing process.


Business Week's fascinating report on big box OJ discovered how ridiculously impressive (and scary) the whole process is. The architect of Coke's OJ model, Revenue Analytics consultant Bob Cross who also built an algorithm for Delta for airline efficiency told Business Week that the Black Book, "is definitely one of the most complex applications of business analytics. It requires analyzing up to 1 quintillion decision variables to consistently deliver the optimal blend, despite the whims of Mother Nature."

The Black Book has data on over 600 flavors that go into an orange, detailing the acidity, sweetness, etc. of each batch of juice. Once it profiles the raw juice, it spits out how to blend the juice to get into the perfectly consistent taste we're all used to. Even deeper, Black Book can analyze weather patterns, crops, etc. to adjust any sort of juicing plans. Black Book even uses satellites to monitor crops and tells farmers the optimal time to pick the fruit. It's considered every possible angle for orange juice, with math.

Read more about how an algorithm dictates OJ at Business Week. [Business Week]

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Fuck. This means we'll never know the true flavor of orange juice. For all we know What tastes like orange juice to us is cherry to the Romans. And what they called Ambrosia, is four loko to us. We're screwed.