A Florida Department of Citrus (FDOC) economist recently gave the Florida Citrus Commission a detailed report about Florida orange production and the not-from-concentrate (NFC) orange juice (OJ) market.
On average, about 96 percent of the Florida orange crop is processed into OJ, said Marisa Zansler, director of economic and market research. Over the last five years, approximately 80 percent of the orange crop that is processed is utilized in NFC OJ. About 20 percent is utilized in reconstituted orange juice. Both NFC and reconstituted OJ are blended with imports.
Florida processors receive more than 90 percent of their NFC orange juice from the Florida orange crop in any given season, Zansler reported. On the other hand, more than 60 percent of Florida processors’ reconstituted OJ is sourced from imported concentrate in any given season.
Zansler said Florida growers cannot be cost-competitive in the reconstituted OJ market because Florida is the high-cost producer of that product. However, Florida growers are very competitive on the NFC OJ market, she said.
In the retail market, NFC provides the highest returns to retailers, processors and Florida growers, Zansler reported. But the NFC OJ market at retail faces several challenges, she added. The average price of NFC has increased, on average, nearly 3 percent each season over the last decade, and the average number of NFC items sold at retail have declined over the last decade.
OJ sales spiked in the middle of the past citrus season due to consumer concerns associated with COVID-19, Zansler reported. That sales spike should help reduce some of the inventory that Florida processors had going into the season.
In May, 25 percent of respondents to an FDOC survey indicated they bought more 100 percent OJ due to COVID-19 concerns. About 37 percent of those respondents indicated they purchased more OJ because it supports a healthy immune system and has vitamin C. Consumers continue to react to COVID-19 with an increase in online shopping and home delivery of groceries. Learn more about consumer response to COVID-19.
Zansler said long-term Florida orange industry viability requires replanting, improved yields and juice quality to meet market demand.
Source: Florida Department of Citrus
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