Prepare for Orange Juice Sticker Shock

You better enjoy every drop of that glass of orange juice, because it’s not cheap. OJ prices have skyrocketed to their highest point in two years.

Who or what is to blame for the ridiculously high prices of juice? Florida, the source of the majority of oranges used to make orange juice in the U.S., experienced an unusually cold winter, plus a fruit disease (citrus greening) has stunted orange growth, leading to the smallest orange harvest in nearly 30 years, The Wall Street Journal said.

The smaller U.S. crop — down 18 percent from the previous harvest — comes as groves in Brazil, the world’s largest orange exporter, are experiencing the worst drought in decades. Brazilian growers won’t know how severe the damage is until July, when the harvest starts.

“We have the two largest producers in the world both having poor crops at the same time,” said Mike Seery, president of Seery Futures, a brokerage firm in Plainfield, Ill. “That’s bad.”

Higher prices for orange juice could potentially turn consumers away from the drink, which has been experiencing a shrinking demand for years. Once a breakfast staple, orange juice retail sales are down 32 percent from 10 years ago, plus they fell 5.3 percent in the four weeks ending March 15, NBC News said.

So, what will you soon be paying for the yummy breakfast juice? We’re paying about $6.22 a gallon now, and that price is only expected to rise.

You must really like orange juice to pay $6.22 per gallon. I think I’ll stick to something a little cheaper for now, like apple or cranberry juice.

What about you? Will you continue to buy OJ, even at its exorbitant price? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page.

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