In the Feb. 3 Florida Citrus Commission meeting, Marisa Zansler, Florida Department of Citrus director of economic and market research, provided an update on Florida orange juice (OJ) movement and availability.
External trends, such as fruit drop and increased demand during the pandemic, may significantly impact the availability of orange juice throughout the season. Coming into the 2020–21 season, beginning inventory was down by 20 percent for frozen concentrated orange juice (FCOJ) and 26 percent for not from concentrate (NFC) OJ. In terms of the processed orange crop utilization, single-strength orange juice (SSOJ), which is used primarily to make NFC, is up by 30 percent year over year. Utilization of the processed orange crop into FCOJ, on the other hand, was down by 52 percent by mid-January.
Currently, Florida processor NFC packaged movement, which represents about 96 percent of NFC OJ movement at present, is up by about 10.5 percent. NFC pack from Florida-sourced fruit currently outpaces NFC imports. However, it is important to note imports are up compared to last season, which is helping to maintain market share for processors. Total overall movement of FCOJ, on the other hand, is down by 4 percent, which is likely due to the decline in food service. At the same time, imports of concentrate are currently outpacing pack from Florida-sourced fruit and are up compared to last season.
When looking at total OJ movement trends for the season, an increase in package movement is offsetting the decline in bulk movement, for now, which is most likely due to the decline in food service. Overall movement is currently up 2.5 percent so far this season for Florida processors.
There is currently an estimated surplus of FCOJ. Typically, at this time of the season, the industry would expect to have a current supply of about 31 to 33 weeks. However, the industry currently has 45 weeks supply. Supply of NFC OJ is at about 15 weeks, which means Florida processors may need to receive more juice in order to continue to support the consumer demand for NFC OJ in the market today.
In addition to maintaining demand, Zansler stressed that there are also supply-side issues to contend with, namely the impact of HLB on reduced yields and higher costs of production that have served to suppress grower returns. This season’s Florida production meets current demand, but imported juice is required to support the NFC market moving forward until Florida production reemerges.
Source: Florida Department of Citrus