This Partnership Is The Secret Behind Chick-Fil-A Lemonade

Chick-fil-A's lemonade came under national scrutiny late last year when an employee posted a TikTok video revealing the beverage's high sugar content, and it soon went viral, according to In The Know. The clip quickly received more than 2 million views and prompted a number of customers to swear off the drink for good. On the other hand, it also shed light on the beverage's stellar performances on Chick-fil-A's 2017 and 2018 "Most Ordered" year-end lists (via The ChickenWire).

For the record, the sugar content in Chick-fil-A lemonade is comparable to that of other soft drinks. As reported on the chain's website, a medium size drink has 55g of sugar, which is about 10g within the counts for Simply Lemonade, Coca Cola, and Mountain Dew. As well, the infographic that really seems to have stirred up the controversy –– an image of the quantity of sugar (about two quarts) that goes into a vat of the drink –– has been publicly available since at least 2013, when Chick-fil-A aired one of its first lemonade commercials, as seen on YouTube

Since the beginning, the chain has worked with a well known supplier to make the lemonade even sweeter — and even with the controversy, people still want to drink it up.

Chick-fil-A and Sunkist are better together

Chick-fil-A lemonade is sugary, yes. But it's also made with some of the freshest ingredients available. As reported on their website, the fast food chain has a long running partnership with California-based citrus supplier Sunkist. Sunkist is so close to Chick-fil-A, in fact, that the chain receives more of Sunkist's lemons than any other company in the world. In 2016, they purchased about 300 million of them. 

The unique taste of Chick-fil-A lemonade is based, in part, on the citrus varieties supplied by Sunkist. The cooperative grows two kinds of lemons, Eureka lemons and Lisbon lemons, both of which are characterized by their pleasant, botanical aroma and the high oil content of their peels. Chick-fil-A's drink tastes as great as it does (and is difficult to replicate) because the company uses premium fruit in its recipe. 

As for the preparation of it–– that's a different story. While that 2013 promotional video would have you think your lemonade is squeezed lovingly by hand, it's most likely in an industry-grade juicing machine. Not that you'll mind when you get a sip.