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Orange Juice Makers May Switch to a Different Fruit

Oranges, just like any other commodity, are subject to the laws of supply and demand.

If you want to make orange juice, using oranges is your best bet. It’s kind of a no-brainer. But oranges are subject to the laws of supply and demand just like any other commodity, so, if those factors start to squeeze margins, orange juice manufacturers may have to turn to different fruits.

That’s the scenario the orange juice industry is facing right now. According to multiple reports, orange production has been hurt by diseased fruit and bad weather in some of the best spots on earth for growing oranges. The Fund for Citrus Protection released its 2024/2025 Orange Crop Forecast for the citrus belt in Brazil, which is the world’s largest producer and exporter of orange juice, according to ABC News. The institution is predicting a 24% drop in orange production, which would make this the second-smallest crop since 1988. Orange production in Florida has also declined this year.

Kees Cools, president of the International Fruit and Vegetable Juice Association, called the resulting record high prices for frozen concentrate orange juice a “crisis” and went so far as to say the industry has never seen anything like it.

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Now orange juice makers are having to consider using other fruits to supplement the beverage. That could include or other citrus varieties.

Before that can happen, Cools said his association has to start a regulatory process for incorporating fruits other than oranges in orange juice. As the report points out, the IFU would need a legislative change in the Codex Alimentarius food standards code established by the UN and the U.S. FDA.

Luckily, the USDA said global tangerine/mandarin production for 2023/24 is projected to rise 3% to 38 million tons thanks to good weather in production areas like China and Turkey. So even if orange production is down, there’s still lots of other citrus to turn into juice.

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