Domestic Orange Juice is Squeezed and Imports are Filling the Void

By Tanner Ehmke

November 2018

Key Points

  • U.S. juicing orange production has been declining steadily over the last two decades with citrus greening being the leading cause of the slide in acres and productivity. Barring a sudden drop in production from weather events like hurricanes or frost, a steady decline in Florida orange production is expected to continue over the next three years as old groves are gradually replaced and new ones come into production.
  • While orange juice (OJ) supplies have been falling domestically, so too has the domestic demand for it. The decline in production, however, has been far more pronounced than the drop in consumption.
  • With the gap between domestic production and consumption widening, imports have increased to boost dwindling domestic OJ supplies.
  • The U.S. sources virtually all its OJ imports from Brazil and Mexico, with Brazil accounting for 66 percent of imports in 2017. While dependence on Brazilian imports could pose supply risks, falling global demand for OJ and a strong U.S. dollar relative to the Brazilian real limits the risk for U.S. orange processors.
  • Until a solution is found for citrus greening, imports will be key to keeping Florida’s citrus industry afloat in the years ahead with Brazil shouldering the burden of meeting U.S. demand in the future.

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