Orange juice future prices yesterday set a three year high

Orange juice future prices yesterday set a three year high

Orange juice sales in the US have declined by 5% in this year's citrus season, hurt by the slow economy and rising prices.

For the season from 4 October 2009 to 4 September 2010, sales dropped to US$3.09bn from $3.26bn in the 2008-2009 year, according to figures released this week by the Florida Department of Citrus.

Orange juice consumption slid by 2.8% in the period to 562.79 gallons.

Bob Norberg, deputy executive director of the Florida Department of Citrus told just-drinks: "Prices are below last year basically for two primary reasons. Firstly, prices are starting to creep up from last year and secondly, the economy in the US is still very weak and jobless rates are higher so consumers are switching to lower cost products.

He added: "We don't expect this to change any time soon. Orange juice future prices yesterday set a three-year high and that will put further pressure on sales going forward."

Nonetheless, Andrew Meadows, director of communications for US grower organisation Florida Citrus Mutual remained optimistic.

"Florida citrus growers are always concerned when orange juice consumption is decreasing," he said. "However, we will continue to produce a healthy, great tasting product and our industry is confident sales figures will rebound as consumers realise what value orange juice represents."