Florida's orange crop is headed toward its smallest harvest since the Great Depression, and a subsequent orange juice price hike is looming. The reduced harvest can be blamed on extreme weather and citrus greening, a disease that attacks oranges and other fruit trees, causing the fruit to remain green and inedible.
Florida's orange trees have been plagued with the disease in recent years and this year was no exception. Combined with a freeze in January and hurricanes Ian and Nicole, the Sunshine State's orange outlook has turned especially sour. Since Florida is a key supplier of oranges and most of its supply is used for making juice, consumers may want to brace themselves for the impact of yet another grocery-staple price hike. Orange juice prices have already increased by 7% this year and are anticipated to rise again in 2023.
With Florida coming up short, U.S. suppliers are expected to turn to international producers to try and keep prices down. “The imports are gonna soften prices,” Tanner Ehmke, lead economist for dairy and specialty crops at CoBank, told CNN, “Prices are gonna go up. But they can’t go up that much, because we’re gonna have new supply coming in from abroad.”
Still, if prices do soar, apple juice is always a reliable breakfast companion.