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Orange juice makers consider using alternative fruits as prices soar

Orange juice makers consider using alternative fruits as prices soar

A global shortage of oranges that has sent prices skyrocketing has prompted some orange juice makers to consider turning to alternative fruits as a breakfast staple.

Global orange prices reached $3.68 per pound in April, up about 33% from $2.76 a year ago, according to International Monetary Fund data. This also represents an astonishing 210% increase compared to January 2021, shortly before the start of the inflationary crisis.

“There are three main factors driving the orange juice price spike: drought, disease and demand,” Ted Jenkin, CEO and co-founder of oXYGen Financial, told FOX Business.

INFLATION INCREASES 3.4% IN APRIL AS PRICES REMAIN HIGH

Navel oranges are displayed for sale in the produce area of ​​a Sprouts Farmers Market grocery store in Redondo Beach, California, February 23, 2024.Navel oranges are displayed for sale in the produce area of ​​a Sprouts Farmers Market grocery store in Redondo Beach, California, February 23, 2024.

Navel oranges are displayed for sale in the produce area of ​​a Sprouts Farmers Market grocery store in Redondo Beach, California, on February 23.

The increase is due to lower production in Florida, which is the top U.S. producer, and disease and extreme weather events in Brazil, which accounts for about 70% of global production.

Brazilian orange trees suffer from a disease known as citrus greening. Once infected, citrus fruits produce partially green, small, misshapen and bitter fruits. There is no cure and trees usually die within a few years of infection.

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The disease, along with severe heat waves and drought during the pivotal phases of flowering and early fruit formation, put Brazil on track to record one of its worst orange harvests since more than three decades, according to a new report published by Fundecitrus. and CitrusBR.

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In fact, the citrus growers’ organization projects that the South American nation is expected to produce 232.4 million boxes of oranges in the 2024 to 2025 season, a marked 25% decline from the previous cycle .

A worker loads oranges into a truck in Itupeva, Sao Paulo state, Brazil, August 3, 2021.A worker loads oranges into a truck in Itupeva, Sao Paulo state, Brazil, August 3, 2021.

A worker loads oranges into a truck in Itupeva, Sao Paulo state, Brazil, August 3, 2021.

“If these production forecasts are true, this will be the second smallest harvest since 1988-1989,” the report said.

On top of that, Florida has been hit by a series of hurricanes as well as greening disease, spread by a tiny insect called the Asian citrus psyllid.

“It’s a crisis,” Kees Cools, president of the International Fruit and Vegetable Juice Association (IFU), told the Financial Times. “We’ve never seen anything like this, even during big freezes and big hurricanes.”

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As a result, orange juice prices are also skyrocketing. A 12-ounce can of frozen orange juice concentrate soared to $4.25 in April, up 41% from just a year ago.

In the past, orange juice manufacturers have avoided long-term shortages by freezing their stocks of juice, which can be stored and used for up to two years, according to the Financial Times. However, even this frozen stock is dissipating due to a shortage built up over three years.

Cools said manufacturers may need to consider using a different fruit, such as tangerines, because their trees are more resistant to greening disease. However, this could be a long process.

Original article source: Orange juice makers consider using alternative fruits as prices soar