Review: Sunkist Ten

We reviewed Dr Pepper Ten back in February 2011 when it was still being test marketed. Since then, Ten was expanded nationwide and according to the Dr Pepper Snapple Group, has been a success. A Wall Street Journal article from December 2011 outlined what was next for the Ten franchise:

…Starting as early as January, the company will start testing 7Up Ten, Sunkist Ten, A&W Ten and Canada Dry Ten in Columbus, Ohio, Des Moines, Iowa, and central Pennsylvania. It will also test RC Ten, a cola, in Chicago, Evansville, Ind., and Des Moines.

Thus, it appears that "Ten" is DPSG's response to Coke's "Zero" and Pepsi's "Max" franchises. Let's take a look at the first of these new Tens, Sunkist Ten.

Sunkist Ten

In our Dr Pepper Ten review, we felt that it didn't taste better than what was already a quality reduced calorie drink, Diet Dr Pepper. Many BevReview readers disagreed with our perceptive, and let us know accordingly in the comments (thanks for your passion, everyone!) For this review, we sampled Sunkist Ten alongside Diet Sunkist to get a similar comparison.

The Ten Lineup

As part of the Ten line extension, it's obvious that Sunkist Ten borrowed some heavy design cues from Dr Pepper Ten. First off is the use of the gunmetal grey color, which apparently is DPSG's version of Coke Zero's black color. This is combined with the orange style and logo typically associated with Sunkist. The addition of the "TEN" label is the same style at Dr Pepper Ten, though it feels more tacked on and less organically added when compared to the flagship. Instead of proclaiming "10 Bold Tasting Calories," Sunkist Ten simply offers "10 Great Tasting Calories." And for those questioning the math on Dr Pepper Ten's calorie count vs. the calories/ounce proclamations, we can thank the confusing calculations of the FDA's Rounding Rules, which oddly allow for drinks with less than 5 calories to report as "0 calories", while those with 50 calories or less need to round to the nearest 5 calorie increment — thus how the same drink can have zero calories in one size but non-zero calories in another. Confused yet?

Like Diet Sunkist, Sunkist Ten is sweetened with both aspartame and acesulfame potassium (Ace-K). Ten also has the addition of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) to round out its sweetener profile, which DPSG argues adds the ability to better portray the original full-calorie flavor of these drinks. Crack open a can of Sunkist Ten and it smells like your typical orange soda. The bright orange color is also in line with what you've come to find with Sunkist.

As for the flavor, the initial sip is dead-on for Sunkist. It's sweet, syrupy, and bold. But with any diet drink, the details are really in the aftertaste. You can definitely tell that this is a non-full-calorie beverage. The aspartame and Ace-K are obvious. Orange is one of the easier drinks to mask artificial sweeteners in, and Sunkist Ten doesn't disappoint in this area. You can tell the sweeteners are there, but they aren't too distorting. The aftertaste lingers a bit and then disappears. This flavor experience is in contrast to Diet Sunkist, which tends to taste fake from the start. Whereas Sunkist Ten tastes like the original in the beginning of the taste experience and then transitions to artificial, Diet Sunkist feels artificial throughout. When it comes to most closely resembling the original, Sunkist Ten is the winner (of course, it also has more calories than Diet Sunkist, which features 0 per serving).

Sunkist Ten
Carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup, citric acid, sodium citrate, malic acid, sodium benzoate (preservative), aspartame, modified food starch, natural flavors, acesulfame potassium, caffeine, ester gum, Yellow 6, Red 40

A 12 oz can contains 10 calories, 130 mg sodium, and 2 g carbs (2 g sugars). Caffeine content is 3.42 mg/oz. (For comparison, Mountain Dew contains 4.5 mg/oz.)

For those interested in a comparison…

Diet Sunkist
Carbonated water, citric acid, sodium citrate, malic acid, sodium benzoate (preservative), aspartame, modified food starch, acesulfame potassium, natural flavors, caffeine, ester gum, Yellow 6, Red 40

A 12 oz can contains 0 calories, 128 mg sodium, and 0 g carbs (0 g sugars). Caffeine content is 3.38 mg/oz.

In the end, Sunkist Ten brings a more authentic Sunkist flavor compared to Diet Sunkist. If you are looking for a lower calorie orange soft drink, Ten is what you seek.

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  1. Nice cans :)

  2. I can't wait to try them out!

  3. This sounds interesting to try.

  4. I bought all flavors except the A&W (my Wally World was out or not carrying it) and my favorite so far is the Canada Dry Ginger Ale TEN. The Sunkist is OK but has a serious cheap orange popsicle aftertaste. Not a bad thing if you're 8 and eat lots of shock type & sour candy. The 7up I didn't notice much diff from it and diet. The DP, well it's a step up from their weak and acrid diet version so that's a plus (small but positive). I haven't cracked the RC TEN yet.

  5. Sunkist 10 is great. I was somewhat addicted to Sunkist and I've tried Diet Sunkist several times, but always switched back after a few days. Sunkist 10 is much better and I am able to have my favorite flavor with less calories, I was so happy with it that I went and bought a lot from Kroger just today.

  6. Michelle says:

    I am a bit of a diet pop hater. I just haven't found anything that I can whole heartedly like. I tried Sunkist Ten today… It was magical. It could definately be a replacement for my beloved full sugar sodas. I really hope this is a permanent addition to the market!

  7. I disagree with this review. Let me say I HATE DIET DRINKS….PERIOD. Sunkist 10 has NO AFTER TASTE. It tastes just as good as the regular one. I've switched and LOVE IT!!! I've stopped drinking Coke and Pepsi completely!

  8. I think "aftertaste" is all about what your tastebuds are accustomed to. I used to drink nothing but full calorie soda, and switched to diet back in 2005. At first, I couldn't stand it – everything tasted "odd" to me. But after about 6 months, something weird started to happen. All of a sudden, diet soda tasted good to me, and it was full calorie sodas that began to taste "odd". I think what it is, is that everything has its own unique aftertaste. HFCS tastes way too thick and syrupy for me nowadays, the mouthfeel of diet beverages is much cleaner and more refreshing. And the "throwback" kick is because people miss the unique aftertaste of real sugar, which HFCS doesn't replicate. Like I said, it's all in what you're used to. I think that alot of people who "hate" the taste of diet soda just don't drink enough of it to get accustomed to the different taste and mouthfeel.

  9. I disagree with you on taste. I have been drinking Sunkist 10 since May and let me first say that I HATE DIET DRINKS. I will not drink diet at all. I was hooked on this drink after the first 2 liter bottle I purchased. It is actually sweeter than regular Sunkist and I don't notice any aftertaste whatsoever. If there would have been, I would have stopped drinking it. I am hoping that DPSG will roll this out nationwide soon as I have many friends that want to try it as well. I've lost 25 pounds since I started drinking Sunkist 10 and I have not had a regular sugared soda since Memorial Day!! This has been a godsend for me as I was starting to get overweight and this was the best alternative for me. BRAVO DPSG for creating these products!!!

  10. Sunkist Orange Ten is terrific! I'm going to stock up on it. I always thought diet Sunkist Orange was a pretty decent diet drink, but this new stuff is superlative.

  11. I tried this & it's pretty good and sweet. Tastes like the full calorie Sunkist. This and 7Up Ten are my favorite out of the new products in the Ten franchise.

  12. burke chaplin says:

    Tried several of the TENS…nasty after taste..lousy tasting overall. Prefer the OLD good taste with some calories..let the dieters stay with their diet drinks and stick with the good taste NO MORE TENS… back to coke and pepsi


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