Orange Juice and Orange Juice Concentrate: 2023-24 Crop Update and What to Know

Written and Published by BMT Foods, October 5, 2023

Oranges are loved worldwide and are a staple fruit throughout the year, but particularly during the winter months. Brazil and Mexico lead the world in orange crop production.

Mexican oranges are commonly known as “naranjas” in Spanish and are primarily grown in the Veracruz, Michoacán, and Tamaulipas regions. The Mexican orange crop is well-known for its delicious flavor, vibrant bold color, and versatility. In Brazil, São Paulo and Bahia are the two largest orange-growing regions. And, the U.S. is in the top five largest orange producers worldwide, with oranges are primarily grown in the states of Florida and California, with Florida being the lead grower (oranges even appear on the state license plate!)

Oranges are very popular for a variety of health reasons, and they are known as an all-around healthy snack and ingredient. They are high in Vitamin C and many look to oranges for immune support. They also contain a high amount of fiber and antioxidants, two essential areas for overall cardiovascular health.

2023 Orange Crop Update

BMT Foods recently attended the annual International Citrus & Beverage Conference (ICBC) in Clearwater, Florida. The main subject of most conversations was the current orange market situation which has led to shortages and concentrate prices that keep climbing.

What is currently happening in the orange market?

On the futures market, prices of Frozen Orange Juice Concentrate (FCOJ) have reached an all-time high in recent months. Though most suppliers are not yet offering orange products, the few prices we heard were very high. A low Mexican orange crop mainly due to weather issues is to blame for many of the issues faced in the orange market today.

2022 saw repeated and prolonged droughts in Mexico, which reduced the orange crop yield there. In Brazil, weather was close to normal last year, while this year, weather-related disruptions are expected. Local currencies are also playing a role in changing citrus prices in both countries.

What’s expected for the 2023-2024 orange crop?

The upcoming Mexican orange crop is looking much more normal than last year’s. However, it likely won’t be a bumper crop. It is expected the crop could reach 69 million boxes, up from last year’s  54 million. Additionally, other countries such as Brazil are seeing a lower orange crop this year with weather to be blamed, as well as crop health.

Currently, orange-producing areas in Mexico, the U.S., and Brazil are all being affected by Citrus Greening (or HLB), transmitted by bacteria. The bacteria causes fruit drop and a small crop volume for both fresh and processing markets. Although many governmental and business entities are working to bring Citrus Greening under control, no one solution or “cure” exists yet. Efforts are mostly focused on mitigation and preserving this year’s orange crop. At this time, the Citrus Greening appears more severe in the Mexican orange crop compared to Brazil, where severity is lower. Both countries are implementing efforts to fight back against the bacteria, though those efforts are unlikely to affect the upcoming orange crop.

We will know more about this year’s citrus crop in Mexico, Brazil, and the U.S. in the coming weeks and months and will continue to keep you posted. At BMT Foods, we stand ready to meet your Orange product needs. We offer both Orange Juice Concentrate and Orange Juice NFC for all of your food ingredient needs. Please contact us today to learn more.