Hurricane Irma savaged Florida's orange belt, delivering what some say could be a knockout blow for orange juice manufactuerers, who sales have been slipping because of concerns about high sugar levels in OJ.
Widespread damage to Florida’s orange trees could lead to orange shortages, price hikes and, for farmers, lost harvests — all on top of a long-term national decline in orange juice consumption, the Washington Post reports.
According to the Department of Agriculture, the average American drinks nearly 24 pounds of orange juice per year — more than any other fruit.
While orange juice is still America's most-consumed “fruit,” demand has plummeted from its late-1990s peak — fueled in part by growing concerns about sugary beverages, including fruit juice.
A number of researchers and public health organizations have urged consumers to forgo it, citing links between sugar, diabetes, obesity, and heart disease.
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