The Case for Sugar Belle® in OJ

Ernie Neff Orange Juice

Sugar Belle®

A pitch for potentially using the HLB-tolerant Sugar Belle® mandarin hybrid in orange juice (OJ) has been made by University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) researchers. A brief presentation titled, “Potential of Using HLB-Tolerant Sugar Belle® in Orange Juice Processing and Effects on Consumer Preference,” is available for viewing.

Slides in the presentation indicate that a consumer panel preferred a 50% Sugar Belle®/50% Hamlin orange juice blend over four other juice choices. The other four choices, in order of consumer preference, are a 90% Hamlin/10% Sugar Belle® blend, 100% Sugar Belle® juice, 100% Hamlin juice and, finally, 100% commercially available OJ.

The presentation notes that consumers’ expressed intent to buy 52 ounces of the 50% Sugar Belle®/50% Hamlin juice at $2.99 was higher than consumers’ intent to buy the same amount of commercial OJ at $1.99.

According to the presentation, tangerine/mandarin fruit is currently consumed most frequently as fresh fruit. But it stated that “substantial consumers who never consume tangerine/mandarin juice could be potential customers.”

A 2019 Citrus Industry article also addressed the potential of using Sugar Belle® in orange juice. In that article, UF/IFAS researchers stated that Sugar Belle® has been recognized as the most HLB-tolerant commercial cultivar currently grown. Citrus growers are increasingly planting Sugar Belle® due to its good field performance and competitive quality. “Having an option to sell to processors in addition to the fresh market will give growers more confidence in planting this HLB-tolerant variety,” the article stated.  

Source: University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences

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