Why is orange juice more expensive than last year? Fort Pierce orange grower weighs in

Orange juice prices are up 32% from last year
Posted at 6:36 PM, Jun 18, 2024

FORT PIERCE, Fla. — The high grocery prices have many people talking.

"It's been terrible. things have gone up probably 30%," said shopper Peter Torell.

"Orange juice, eggs, milk, snacks, everything — they are higher, a lot higher," shopper Anthonette Childress said.

Orange juice is up 32% from last year, according to numbers from the federal government. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics tracks the cost of a 12-ounce can of frozen orange juice. In May 2023, it cost $3.18, while in May 2024 it cost $4.19.


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Jeff Schorner, owner of Al's Family Farms in Fort Pierce, explained that the orange supply is low right now because Florida and other parts of the world where oranges are produced have been impacted by bad weather.

"As the supply is diminished the price is going to go up and if it's not relational to the consumers buying it’s just the relationship that there’s not enough product, so the price is going to go up,” said Schorner.

However, the USDA reports Florida orange production is up two million this year, only one citrus season after Hurricane Ian devastated orange crops. From 2022 to 2023 production was 15.8 million. From 2023 to 2024 production went up to 17.8 million. It's good news for local growers.

Jeff Schorner explains why the cost of orange juice is high for shoppers.
Jeff Schorner explains why the cost of orange juice is high for shoppers.

"We got a higher price for our oranges this year," Schorner said.

As the growing season ends, Schorner said he's thrilled with not just the quantity of oranges, but the quality, too.

"We had a lot of oranges last year, but the hurricane really beat them up," Schorner said. "So, the oranges that we had this year, I would say we were up about 15 or 20 percent in production, in other words the pieces of fruit on the tree, but the internal quality of the oranges was so superior to year before."

He's holding onto hope that the Florida citrus industry will continue to weather the storm fighting citrus tree diseases and severe weather.

"I'd like to see prices go down. If production increases and we start getting a handle on some of this disease pressure and some of these weird weather events then as the production increases, the prices will fall, and the juice prices will come more in line with what you're hoping to pay," Schorner said.