Why You Rarely Find Watermelon Juice On Store Shelves

Watermelon juice doesn't just taste good — it's good for you, too. The sweet liquid is incredibly nutritious and features a variety of healthy vitamins and minerals like vitamin A, folate, iron, calcium, and potassium. But despite its mouthwateringly addictive taste, you'd probably be hard-pressed to find it on store shelves, namely because it doesn't have a very long shelf life.

Delicious inside and out, watermelon's pinkish flesh offers a unique taste bud-pleasing combination of sweet, sour, and bitter flavors, while the thick, green rind, which is completely edible, features a crunchy texture with mildly crisp notes of cucumber. But the best part of the tasty fruit is undoubtedly its light and refreshingly sugary juice.

Since the large melons are composed of 92% water, you'd think bottled watermelon juice would be readily available in the refrigerated sections of markets around the country, but because the hydrating liquid is prone to separation and goes bad so quickly, finding it in stores can be tricky — but not entirely impossible.

Watermelon juice is fresh for about 12 hours

Similar to how long fresh smoothies will last in the fridge, you can probably get away with storing watermelon juice in the refrigerator for up to three days. However, per a 2020 study published by Food & Nutrition Research (a subsidiary of the Swedish Nutrition Foundation), it's really only fresh for about 12 hours after which the natural juice tends to sour and separate quickly, losing its naturally delicious flavors and its important nutritional attributes. It's important to note it only lasts this long when stored at low temperatures (under 40 degrees F).

For this reason, the vast majority of watermelon juices sold commercially aren't 100% pure juice and instead often feature a mixture of artificial flavors and preservatives to help extend their shelf life, not to mention added sugar — such as Simply Watermelon Juice Drink, which features cane sugar, lemon juice, cherry juice, and natural flavors in addition to watermelon juice. And featuring 100% natural flavors, Minute Maid's watermelon-flavored drink is aptly named, containing high fructose corn syrup, and watermelon, grape, pear, and apple juices from concentrate, among other ingredients.

But, that doesn't mean it's impossible to find natural watermelon juice — you just have to know where to look.

Where to find watermelon juice in stores

Despite its short shelf-life, a number of brands are still churning out bottled forms of the fruit's tasty liquid without all the added sugars, such as CoCo Joy and Namai, which carry refreshing cans of 100% melon juice. And companies like IOS Naturals and Wonder Melon sell healthy juice options featuring a mixture of other natural ingredients: The former makes its certified organic watermelon juice with apple juice concentrate, and the latter carries a variety of flavors with added ingredients like lemon juice, apple juice, cucumber juice, basil, and cayenne. 

Cold-pressed watermelon water is another way to hydrate. Founded in 2013, the brand WTRMLN WTR makes its flavorous concoction from watermelon flesh, rinds, filtered water, and a splash of lemon juice. And the best part is the company opts to use melons that would otherwise be discarded by farmers, such as those that are bruised or misshapen for a hydrating beverage that's good for the planet, too.