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Decline in 100% Fruit Juice Consumption

Ernie NeffOrange Juice

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A new research report shows that Americans continue to consume fewer fruits and vegetables despite consistent dietary advice to the contrary. An accompanying decline in the consumption of 100% fruit juice, such as orange juice (OJ), is likely a significant contributor to the issue.

The Produce for Better Health Foundation (PBH) reported in its “State of the Plate: America’s Fruit and Vegetable Consumption Trends” that Americans continue on a 15-year decline in the consumption of fruits and vegetables. The report shows that fruit and vegetable consumption has declined nearly 10%, and that Americans are eating produce just once each day. The news is troubling given the breadth of research that supports the diet and health benefits of consuming a variety of fruit and vegetables in recommended amounts. Additionally, juice consumption declined 8% over the past five years.

Leading the charge in this downward trend is a decrease in the frequency of vegetable and 100% fruit juice eating occasions — down 16% and 15%, respectively, since 2004. Nearly one quarter of Americans did not eat any fruit over the course of the week. Although the amount of fruit (not including juice) consumed at each occasion rose, it was not enough to stem overall declines.

Declining juice consumption is occurring in all age groups. Overall, declines in consumption of fruits and vegetables were highest for older millennials.

“Our own research on OJ, using a nationally representative sample of Americans, is similar to PBH’s data in that we showed significant decreases in 100% juice intake and some increases in whole fruit intake in certain age groups over time,” said Gail Rampersaud, a registered dietitian nutritionist with the Florida Department of Citrus. “Additionally, our data show an overall decrease in vitamin C intake over that time period, so obviously the loss of vitamin C from juice, particularly OJ, is not being replaced by whole fruit or other foods.”

Some other trends noted in the PBH report were that oranges were the fourth highest fruit consumed based on number of eating occasions, and that citrus ranked as the fourth highest fruit consumed by volume.  Orange juice continues to be the most popular juice consumed but, after fruit/vegetable juice blends, also has one of the highest consumption declines over the past five years. Grapefruit juice and orange juice ranked as the top two juices consumed by volume.

PBH’s most recent research was conducted prior to COVID-19 and included more than 15,000 respondents.

Source: Florida Department of Citrus

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