PepsiCo has released plans to boost prices of Tropicana and Dole orange juice by 4% to 8% from the start of 2007, reported AFX Asia.

The company will also decrease the size and frequency of discounts offered to consumers, according to the news service, in another measure forced by what is being billed as the worst Florida citrus crop in more than a decade.

Following two heavy hurricane seasons, drought and crop disease, Florida's harvest has reportedly dropped off significantly. Before the past two hurricane seasons, Florida averaged about 220m boxes, each weighing 90 pounds. The US Department of Agriculture has predicted that 135m boxes of oranges will be picked in the 2006-07 season, down again, from 148m boxes last year, AFX said.

It could be the worst crop in more than 15 years, when frozen weather disrupted production.

Tropicana's vice president of sales Eric Miller reportedly said in a written statement: "Given the world citrus supply is severely challenged and cost pressures have dramatically increased, we are once again forced to raise our prices to customers. However, we believe these pricing strategy changes are in the best long-term interest of the category, our customers and consumers."

PepsiCo was unavailable for comment when contacted by just-drinks today (8 November).

Last week, the Coca-Cola Co. also raised orange juice prices, by 9% to 11% for its Minute Maid and Simply Orange juice products due to the Florida shortage and increased fuel and energy costs.