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Corner Office from Marketplace

Price of orange juice squeezes consumers

Kimberly Adams Jul 27, 2015
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Orange growers in Florida are having a tough time of it. The greening disease that’s been lowering yields for years is making this year’s crop one of the smallest in decades.

That’s translating into higher prices for orange juice, averaging $6.63 per gallon.

Consumers are drinking less, but still guzzle $3.2 billion worth of juice per year, says Jonna Parker of Nielsen research.

“It’s still a really, really big industry,” she says, but there’s been a steady decline in sales over the last five years.

The size of orange juice containers is shrinking as well.

“Some of the brands out there have put the orange juice into the smaller, one-serving size” says LeAnna Himrod, who heads the Peace River Valley Citrus Growers Association in Florida.

She says beverage companies are responding to busy consumers who not only want convenience, but also something that feels fresh and healthy.

Rob Parker is one of those consumers. He lives in Washington, D.C., and worries about the sugar in off-the-shelf orange juice.

“I used to go through probably half a gallon every few days,” he says. “Now, I only get fresh-squeezed, and that’s maybe once or twice a month.”

Growers are trying to keep back the greening disease in order to lower prices, and hopefully, bring orange juice back to the breakfast table.

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