Following a devastating hurricane season last year, an early frost, and a disease that is rapidly spreading and suffocating orange fields, orange juice prices in Florida are on the rise.
According to a Wall Street Journal study, retail prices recently reached record highs of $6.27 per gallon for reconstituted juice and $10 per gallon for squeezed juice that is not from concentrate.
According to Judy Ganes, a commodities expert, “it’s like liquid gold.”
Trees that were just beginning to bloom were harmed by an early January cold, and additional trees were uprooted and knocked down by Hurricanes Ian and Nicole in the previous fall. Growers have also been battling “citrus greening,” a condition in which trees prematurely shed their fruit as a result of assaults by an insect that is thought to have arrived in the US from Asia more than ten years ago.
90% of the orange juice consumed in the US is produced in Florida.
Florida is anticipated to produce less than half of last year’s harvest in 2023, according to the Agriculture Department, a 93% decrease from the state’s highest output in 1998.
Currently grown oranges are likewise smaller.
The Sunshine State will produce less oranges than California for the first time since World War II, when the concentrated juice industry began. Most California oranges are consumed whole rather than juiced.
With recent egg shortages driving up costs by 60% and prompting shoppers to label eggs as “luxury items,” orange juice is the newest essential to be panned by inflation-weary consumers.
As more people avoid sugary juice beverages, Florida’s orange groves have been slowly declining over the years. This raises the danger to the orange juice business because there is less of a safety net in case of a catastrophe.
According to the analysis, Florida’s orange grove acres have decreased by almost half since the late 1990s.
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