Orange Juice Prices Set to Rise After Florida Citrus Crops Damaged by Hurricanes and Disease

by Andrew Powell


After Hurricanes Ian and Nicole ravaged Florida causing billions of dollars in damage, the state’s citrus growers are expecting smaller yields. As a result, the price of America’s favorite breakfast beverage, orange juice, is expected to rise in price as supply drops.

Frozen orange juice concentrate was already down in production for the 2020-2021 season and on-tree crop values were down nearly half from the 2016-2017 season, hitting a 10-year low. This season’s yield is predicted to be the lowest in 80 years.

“We will not know the true impact of Hurricane Ian on the price and supply of Florida Citrus until a full assessment of damage is complete,” the Florida Department of Citrus told The Center Square in an emailed statement. “However, the price of orange juice and citrus has risen steadily for years as supply-side constraints emerged because of citrus greening and devastating weather events. Any reduction in production may lead to an eventual or temporary increase in price.”

Citrus greening disease, which originated in Asia, has spread across the country and is establishing a foothold in Florida, Louisiana, South Carolina, Georgia, Texas and California. Trees infected with greening have reduced yields and lifespans.

“Citrus is a way of life, and the stakes are high for citrus growers as well as the entirety of our state,” the department’s statement said. “The industry employs more than 33,000 people, provides an annual economic impact of $6.762 billion to the state, and contributes hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenues that help support Florida’s schools, roads, and health care services.”

The department said the latest citrus crop forecast was the first to include “preliminary damage reports from the 2022 hurricane season” but that other challenges also factors into final market costs.

“It is important to note that this is determined by multiple factors, including existing inventories, global production, and consumer demand,” the department told The Center Square. “Consumer demand for orange juice has remained strong over the last few years. Despite recent challenges, Florida remains the leading source of domestic production of orange juice, with the Sunshine State’s projected share currently at 61%, above both California and Texas.”

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Andrew Powell is a contributor to The Center Square. 
Photo “Woman Picking Oranges” by Lucas Bordignon.




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