Orange juice prices won’t go down anytime soon
Florida citrus growers are expected to harvest nearly 20 million boxes of oranges this year.

Florida orange juice China
Disease and extreme weather are cost drivers.

Orange juice prices have always been volatile, falling when bumper harvests create an oversupply of oranges and rising when frost or a hurricane knocks out fruit trees.

But the record-high prices the world is seeing for OJ right now may be on the table for a while, since the diseases and extreme weather ravaging orange groves in some top-producing countries aren’t easily resolved problems.

This year’s harvest in Brazil, the world’s largest exporter of orange juice, is likely to be the worst in 36 years due to flooding and drought, according to a forecast by Fundecitrus, a citrus growers’ organization in Sao Paulo state.

“The concern isn’t just that the price of juice is going up. The concern is not having the juice,” Oscar Simonetti, an orange farmer in Mogi Guacu, Brazil, said.

In the U.S., Florida’s already diminished orange production fell 62% in the 2022-2023 season after Hurricane Ian further battered a crop that was struggling due to an invasive pest. Drought also cut Spain’s orange production last year.

Scarce supplies have sent prices soaring. In the U.S., a 12-ounce can of frozen orange juice concentrate cost an average of $4.27 in April, 42% more than during the same month a year earlier, according to government figures.

In the United Kingdom, where the British Fruit Juice Association says supplies are at 50-year lows, the price of fresh orange juice rose 25% over the past year, according to consumer research company Nielsen.

Those price increases are turning off inflation-weary consumers. Orange juice consumption has fallen 15% to 25% in major global markets — including the U.S. and the European Union — over the last year, according to Rabobank, a Dutch bank that focuses on food and agriculture.

Some companies are considering using alternatives to oranges in their products. Coldpress, a British juice company, introduced a mandarin juice product in February, citing the high price of regular juicing oranges.

But others are tight-lipped about their plans. Several major orange juice makers – including Dole, Tropicana, Florida’s Natural, Uncle Matt’s and Coca-Cola, which makes the Simply and Minute Maid brands – declined to comment or failed to respond to inquires from The Associated Press.

The roots of the current supply troubles stretch back decades. In 2005, an invasive bug called the Asian citrus psyllid arrived in Florida, injecting bacteria from its saliva into the state’s orange trees. The bacteria slowly kills the tree by destroying its root systems. There’s no known cure once a tree is infected.

The impact has been devastating. In 2004, before the disease – called citrus greening – hit Florida, the state produced 200 million boxes of oranges. This year, it will produce less than 20 million.

Michael Rogers, a professor of entomology and the director of the University of Florida’s Citrus Research and Education Center, said no type of orange tree is totally resistant to greening, but scientists have been trying to breed trees that are more tolerant of it.

Citrus greening arrived in Brazil around the same time as Florida, but it has progressed more slowly there because Brazil has much larger orange groves. Bugs spread the disease by flying from tree to tree, Rogers said.

Still, the disease is spreading. Fundecitrus estimates that 38% of Brazil’s orange trees had citrus greening in 2023. Simonetti, the orange farmer, estimates that 20% of his production is affected by greening. Oranges on affected trees don’t ripen properly and fall off early, affecting the quality of their juice, he said.


Republished with permission of the Associated Press.

Associated Press


  • Elvis Pitts "The Big Voice On The Right" American

    June 15, 2024 at 3:45 pm

    That makes me so mad that Im totally gonna Vote 4 Trump.

  • Andrew Finn

    June 15, 2024 at 7:32 pm

    “Orange juice prices won’t go down anytime soon” — WOW — Now there’s a big surprise !!!!!!

  • Ricky Bobby

    June 15, 2024 at 8:48 pm

    Everything has gone up in price since Joe Biden has been President. This is “Bidenomics”. Joe would bankrupt the most successful Starbucks franchise in the USA. He is simply that inept.

    • PeterH

      June 16, 2024 at 6:54 pm

      You’re correct! Trump’s trade tarred have caused inflation and he wants to impose 10% more!

      • PeterH

        June 16, 2024 at 6:54 pm


Comments are closed.


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