Poor harvests, a plant disease and hurricanes are depleting the world’s orange juice supplies. The prices on the commodity futures exchanges are at record highs. This is likely to affect consumers as well.
Due to poor harvests, orange juice is currently scarcer worldwide than it has been for a long time. According to the Association of the German Fruit Juice Industry (VdF), consumers in Germany will therefore have to prepare for price increases in the coming months.
The industry is suffering from poor harvests in numerous regions and falling stocks of orange juice concentrate in the most important supplier country, Brazil, said VdF Managing Director Klaus Heitlinger of the German Press Agency. Orange juice concentrate is currently several times more expensive than usual on the commodity futures exchange in the USA. “The goods are scarce and the raw material costs are rising. This means that consumers also have to adjust to the fact that orange juice is becoming more expensive,” said the industry expert.
Markets swept empty
He is not alone in this assessment. The boss of the Mönchengladbach juice manufacturer Valensina, Tino Mocken, recently painted a bleak picture of the situation in an interview with the industry journal “Lebensmittel Zeitung”. Orange juice concentrate prices are at record levels. Worse still: There is currently nothing to buy, the markets have been swept empty, he described the situation.
Valensina has largely secured its own ability to deliver for 2023 through long-term contracts. However, Valensina cannot serve larger additional orders, for example because competitors can no longer deliver. “Therefore bottlenecks and delivery failures threaten in the summer in the overall market – and further price increases,” wrote the newspaper.
Plant disease decimates crops
According to the latest market report from the US Department of Agriculture, global orange production in the 2022/23 marketing year is likely to be 5 percent below the previous year’s level. The slumps in the USA, where production is likely to fall to its lowest level in more than 56 years, are particularly severe, the experts predicted. The main reasons for this are the spread of a plant disease – the so-called citrus greening – and the effects of hurricanes on the harvest volumes. But also in Brazil, the largest producer of oranges, and in Europe, bad weather had a negative impact on harvest volumes.
According to estimates by the US Department, global orange juice production is likely to fall by 7 percent. The stocks of orange juice concentrates in Brazil, from where 90 percent of EU imports come, are lower than ever before.
With a per capita consumption of 28 liters of fruit juice and fruit nectar, according to the VdF, consumers in Germany are world champions when it comes to fruit juice consumption and their favorite in recent years has always been orange juice.