A combination of short supply and high demand has sent orange prices
soaring. Frozen orange juice futures have risen by 50% over the course of the pandemic, reaching a two-year high Thursday. Citrus disease and bad weather are constraining orange crops
in the U.S. and globally. And then there’s just plain bad timing, as demand for orange juice had been dipping for the past few years, but experienced
a spike during the pandemic — US sales of 100% non-concentrated juices jumped from $5 billion in 2019 to $5.5 billion in 2020 and stayed mostly at that level through 2021.
Florida had such a small harvest last year — only 44.5 million boxes of oranges — its lowest crop since the 1944-45 season. In 2019 to 2020, by contrast, it harvested 73.2 million boxes. Brazil also faced a historic drought that cut its crop by 31%
from its 2019-2020 season.
“You have your classical supply-demand…