Tags: Hurricane Irma | Florida | citrus | orange juice

Hurricane Irma May Hasten Decline of Orange Juice

Hurricane Irma May Hasten Decline of Orange Juice
(Dreamstime)

By    |   Thursday, 21 September 2017 12:29 PM

Hurricane Irma’s devastating effect on Florida’s orange groves may speed up the end orange juice, still the biggest source of fruit for Americans even amid the longer-term drop in its popularity.

Florida is estimated to have lost as much as 70 percent of its orange crop, which could lead to shortages, price hikes and lost harvests for farmers, the Washington Post reported.

The state’s orange faces other challenges, including a disease called huanglongbing, or citrus greening. The blight causes bitter and deformed fruits, and has cut Florida orange and grapefruit revenue by $4.64 billion in the past 12 years.

Demand for orange juice has dropped since a late 1990s, which the citrus industry blames on changing lifestyles. A decline in sit-down breakfasts, the proliferation of other beverage options at breakfast and health warnings about sugary beverages, including fruit juice, adding to America’s obesity epidemic.

The average American drinks 23.74 pounds of orange juice a year, or about an ounce each day, more than any other fruit, according to the Department of Agriculture. Most Americans eat 10.7 pounds of fresh apples a year and 2.7 pounds of fresh oranges.

Florida took years to recover from prior hurricanes, including Charley, Frances and Jeanne in 2004.

The damage from Irma could be even worse for the state’s citrus industry.

“Irma cut a swath right through the citrus belt,” said Lisa Lochridge, a Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association spokeswoman. “Based on the field reports we’ve gotten, there was not a grove in the state that was not affected.”

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Hurricane Irma's devastating effect on Florida's orange groves may speed up the end orange juice, still the biggest source of fruit for Americans even amid the longer-term drop in its popularity.
Hurricane Irma, Florida, citrus, orange juice
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2017-29-21
Thursday, 21 September 2017 12:29 PM
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