Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Orange Juice Crisis

Forget the veil, Blunkett's machine guns and out-of-control orders - this is really important.

Having a large family, I buy own-brand orange juice in large quantities from whoever sells it cheapest - usually Lidl, Aldi or Tesco. 35p/litre would be a typical price.

Last week Aldi & Lidl hiked their prices to 48p - by strange chance the same as Tesco had raised theirs to.This week they're 58/59p ! Same at Morrisons. Sainsburys never was cheap.

The price of bog-standard juice from concentrate has increased by 70% in about a month.

What's going on ? Is this a Gloucestershire cartel thing or is it happening everywhere ?

A quick Google tells me that Hurricane Wilma and a few of her little friends have done bad things to Florida over the past few years.

The initial U.S. all-orange forecast ("the all-orange forecast" - I like it. Is that like the All-Shares Index ? - LT) for the 2006-07 season is 7.89 million tons, down 11% from last season's final output of 8.9 million, according to a report from the U.S. Agriculture Department released Thursday.

Florida's all-orange forecast of 135 million boxes was down 9% from last year's "hurricane-reduced crop," the USDA said.

That would be the lowest Florida orange crop since 1990, according to the Associated Press.

That latest prediction was also 44% lower than the final utilization for the 2003-04 season, which was the state's last nonhurricane-reduced crop, the USDA said.

"It's becoming harder to grow oranges in Florida," said Todd Hultman, president of Dailyfutures.com.

As of Aug 31, there were 888 million pounds of frozen orange juice in cold storage in the United States, he said. That's down 36% from a year ago.

The strange thing is that freshly squeezed own-brand Florida is still £1.39/l or £2/2l in Morrisons - no change at all. Why isn't the price of fresh affected ? And why does a 17% wholesale rise translate into a 70% retail one ?

According to this September BBC article, the evil Americans are erecting trade barriers to Brazilian juice to protect the Florida growers, so the juice floods into the EU but trickles into the US. It's certainly not flooding into these parts.


AntiCitizenOne said...

Maybe the pound is falling against non-dollar currencies?

Both the GBP and USD had M4 of over 10% last year and this Adiabatic expansion of money should create an inflationary pressure that should eventually depress the currencies relative to lower M4 currencies.

Martin said...


Just as the invasion of Iraq was sold as 'pre-emptive varfare', the supermarkets are probably engaging in pre-emptive protection of their shareholders' interests.

Others might call it greed.

Anonymous said...

Bullcrap. I live in the US and there's np 'shortage' of ranges or juice here, neither have domestic prices gone up. It's just another excuse for profiteering in rip-off Britain

Anonymous said...

Orange juice concentrate is dominated by 2 or 3 Brazilian family groups. They ship containers of concentrate around the world.

The bulk of juiced orange juice is Brazilian whatever they advertise.

It probably has a lot to do with energy costs. If GNER railway talks of a £10 million increase in electricity costs, we can assume that processing and freight costs have increased - plus refrigeration costs..........once prices start rising the hedge funds and other speculators jump onto the futures market as they did with oil

Anonymous said...


in the US.

"There's a very high tariff barrier there, $450 per tonne, which is excessive and prevents competition," he said.

"That means Brazilian orange juice cannot compete with Florida juice, which will always be cheaper. Brazilian juice is only viable when there's a lack of it over there, as is happening now, because hurricanes caused a big fall in production. So Brazil has begun exporting to the US again."

However, Brazilian exporters have met with stiff resistance from Florida-based processors, who accuse them of selling both frozen concentrate and not-from-concentrate orange juice at unfairly low prices.

The US Commerce Department agrees. Last month, it slapped anti-dumping duties of 24.62% on Cutrale's juice, while other Brazilian firms face penalties of up to 60.29%.

Aldi sources orange juice from Brazil.........and Germany has the highest per capita consumption of fruit juices overall.......people tend to switch to apple juice when orange juice increases in price

Anonymous said...

is still £1.39/l or £2/2l in Morrisons

Yes but if you buy two packs the second one costs 89 pence..........

Freshly Squeezed has such a huge margin that any price flexing can be absorbed.......anyway they probably use Spanish or Cypriot oranges.

It was not long ago that Australia was ploughing oranges under since prices were poor and like wine there was massive over-supply

Anonymous said...

Last time I was in Sorrento, oranges were lying about in the gutters like litter, and fruiting trees grew on every vacant lot. Maybe you should take a trip to Italy.

Or would HM Customs confiscate the oranges on arrival back in UK?

Anonymous said...

Which Aldi OJ do you mean ? The stuff in glass bottles or the stuff in cartons ?

They have concentrate with flesh which is in glass bottles as if it is Granini

They have fresh squeezed in cartons with a resealable cap

They have concentrate in Combibloc cartons



The price of orange juice is rising sharply because pestilence and severe weather are killing the USA's orange groves.

The price of future-delivery juice contracts on the New York exchange has reached record highs, with the fear of more increases to come.

Orange juice retail prices are already up 8 per cent this year, adding around 7p to the price of a litre and taking it to 99p.

However, there are fears that prices will rise more than 10per cent in the coming year - driving it up above £1 a litre.

Any increase is likely to drive consumers to rival juices, everything from apple to pineapple or pomegranate.

There is mounting evidence that it is getting harder to grow oranges in the sunshine state of Florida, which is responsible for some 90per cent of US production.

Huge quantities are imported to the UK, although we are increasingly looking for alternatives from Brazil.

Florida has seen repeated droughts, interrupted by violent hurricanes, which have felled tens of thousands of orange trees.

Separately a deadly tree canker, a disease that causes fruit to blemish and drop prematurely, has wiped out many orange groves.

A failed attempt to kill off the canker by destroying millions of orange trees around suspect cases has failed to beat the disease. Now, the US authorities have effectively given up the fight and are paying tens of millions of dollars of compensation to farmers who have lost their trees.

The October orange harvest is now getting under way with warnings from growers of a poor season. Analysts at Citrus Consulting International put the orange harvest at 123 million boxes, which would be the worst since 1988, when a wave of freezes crippled the industry.

This is well short of the 220 million-box average Florida produced before the hurricanes whipped through in 2004 and 2005. The 123 million boxes would be even worse than the 150 million-box haul from the last harvest in July.

The US Department of Agriculture's(USDA) official projection for production, which is based on its citrus tree count, does not come out until October 12.

But the tree census, released this month, amounted to more bad news. The USDA determined Florida had 621,373 acres (248,549 hectares) of citrus, a 17per cent drop from two years ago.

Bob Terry, an administrator at the USDA's Florida field office, said the failed effort to kill off the orange tree canker, which resulted in the destruction of 8 million commercial orange trees over the last 10, is the biggest cause of lost production.

At the same time, rising land values has meant that many farmers have sold off their property to house builders.

Even the Tescos Value brand has gone up about 20p - couldn't believe it when I went to buy some the other day - it's a big increase and I wondered why at the time. Now I know!

- Helen, Deddington

If this is the orange juice stuffed with additives and E numbers to keep it drinkable for months and sold in waxy cartons, it won't be any loss. It can contribute to hyperactivity in children as I've seen with people close to me and has no vitamin value whatsoever. Better to buy a juicer and use local, organic fruit and veg when in season.

- Diana, CH-Geneva