Business, Finance & Economics

Why Orange Juice Prices Are Going Up

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Orange juice (Photo by Risager, via Flickr)

The price of orange juice on the global markets has hit a record high, after surging over the past few days.

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There are two major orange producing countries: Brazil and the United States. Both are involved in the current price spike.

Last week, Florida experienced prolonged temperatures below freezing, enough to cause some crop damage and to give traders the jitters.

Florida produces most of the oranges in the US, and the US produces about 15 percent of the world's supply. But with 33 percent it's Brazil that's the biggest orange-grower, said Michael Smith of T&K Futures and Options in Florida.

"So when you take a problem with either or you're talking about half of the global production," he said.

The US Food and Drug Administration has found a fungicide not approved over here in shipments of orange juice concentrate coming from Brazil. Producers over there use the fungicide to stop mold on their trees. And now the FDA says it'll stop any further shipments of Brazilian oranges that contain the chemical.

"We could have quite a lack of product on the global market," said Smith.

The market for orange juice is enormous, thanks in part to campaigns like those produced by Florida's Citrus Commission back in the 1950s. One features the tennis star Gussie Moran.

"And Gussie I'd say that you really go for that orange juice", says a smart-dressed man. "Bud, I crave it," replies Moran. "After a fast tennis match nothing refreshes me as fast orange juice."

Elizabeth Sullivan is a health coach based in New York. She says there are 22g of sugar in a single glass of orange juice.

"So what happens is that the sugar gets absorbed immediately into your blood stream and it might give you an energy spike right away. But over the long run that's an awful lot of sugar in your diet if you're drinking a lot of orange juice," she said.

We certainly do drink a lot of orange juice, and not just for the sugar kick.

While Sullivan says it's better all-round to eat a whole orange, whether it's from Florida or Brazil or anywhere else, OJ has long been America's go-to source for vitamin C.

That doesn't look set to change.

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