Orange Juice

I. Oranges

Oranges on the tree with view of flowers and leaves.

A. Botanical Information:
Orange juice is typically made from sweet oranges (Citrus sinensis). Oranges are the most commonly grown tree fruit in the world due in part to the production of orange juice. Citrus sinensis is a dicot and is a member of the Rutaceae family. This family is one of flowering plants that produce the and ornamental fruit which people commonly recognize as “citrus.” The Rutaceae family includes 160 genera and 1,700 species worldwide, though particularly in warm and tropical regions ( The sweet orange is a compact evergreen tree that has shiny and leathery leaves that are oblong to elliptic in shape and up to 4 inches long. Orange blossoms are white and grow in clusters of 1-6, blooming in the spring and producing fruit in the following autumn or winter ( For maximum production, oranges should be grown in full sun and in areas where average total rainfall is 40-45 inches. Oranges are typically propagated through bud grafting. Generally bud cuttings are grafted onto one or two year old seedlings of a similar species (

B. Geographical Information:
Though originally native to areas such as Vietnam, northwest India, and southern China, oranges are now cultivated in
areas such as Brazil, Florida, and Louisiana ( Major orange juice brands include Tropicana Products, Simply Orange, and Florida’s Natural.
Popular areas of orange cultivation in the United States.

C. History:
As the sweet orange does not occur naturally in the wild, it is believed to have been first cultivated in China, quickly spreading to surrounding Asian countries. The Persian orange was the first type of orange to be introduced to and grown in southern Europe. This orange was used mostly for medicinal purposes. The Portuguese are credited with spreading the orange from southern Europe to the Mediterranean region. Sailors planted citrus trees, including oranges, along trade routes in order to prevent scurvy. Christopher Columbus introduced oranges to Haiti and the Caribbean and Juan Ponce de Leon brought them to Florida in 1513 ( This was the beginning of the importance of the orange and orange juice industry to Florida’s economy. The improvement of canning and pasteurization techniques officially gave birth to the commercial orange juice industry in the 1920s. Towards the end of WWII frozen concentrate orange juices were introduced and became the best selling type of juice in the following decades (

II. Orange Juice

Orange Juice, a popular agricultural commodity.

A. Types:
-Frozen concentrate: squeezed, pasteurized, filtered, and evaporated to remove the majority of the water. Water must then be added by the consumer to this concentrate once it thaws in order to reconstitute it.
-Reconstituted liquid: the dilution process is completed before sale; ready-to-drink (
-Not from concentrate: pasteurized and sold (

*For more information on the production and processing of orange juice please visit:

B. Nutrition
Orange juice: not as nutritious as one may think.

Though often thought to be a healthy alternative to soda, orange juice actually contains similar amounts of carbohydrates and sugar compared to Coca-Cola. 12 ounces of typical orange juice contains 39 g of carbohydrates compared to 40 g in Coke. 33 g of the carbs in the 12 ounces of orange juice come from sugar while the whole 40 g in Coke come from sugar. Similarly, 12 ounces of orange juice contains 8 tsp of sugar while 12 ounces of Coke contains only slightly more with 10 tsp. 12 ounces of orange juice contains more calories than 12 ounces of Coke (165 as opposed to 145) (

III. Economic Outlook

The majority of economic forecasts seem to signal that consumption and production of the orange juice commodity is slowing and will continue to do so, both in the U.S. and abroad.

Rendition of an orange orchard.
A. Overall:
Data put out by the State of Florida Department of Citrus indicates that:
-The percent of consumer intent to purchase Florida orange juice on their next shopping trip decreased from 70% in 2009-10 to 55% in 2010-11.
-The number of cartons of fresh orange, grapefruit, and specialty fruit shipped domestically decreased from 21.5 million in 2009-10 to 19.6 million in 2010-11.
-The percent of consumer recall after television orange juice advertising decreased from 63% in 2009-10 to 50% in 2010-11.
These factors all indicate a slowdown in the orange juice industry (

B. Demand:
The March 2011 earthquake in Japan does not bode well for Florida citrus growers either. Though primarily a prominent grapefruit consumer, Japan is arguably the most important citrus export market for the U.S. The infrastructure decimation that occurred worries U.S. growers who wonder if Japan will be able to keep pace with the consumption levels that have come to be expected ( This will lead to a surplus of fruit causing widespread decreased profits for citrus farmers.

USDA data shows that per capita consumption of orange juice has decreased overall from its peak of 5.73 gallons in 1997/98 to its current forecasted level of 3.51 gallons. Recently, there has been a decrease from a slight upward movement in 2008/09. The steady decline from that level of 3.94 gallons to the current forecasted level over the last 3 years may indicate that due to the current state of the economy, consumers have cut back on certain commodities, including orange juice ( Additionally, the Consumer Price Index put out by the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that prices have consistently increased on frozen concentrate orange juice for the first two quarters of 2011. January 2011 indicated a CPI of 2.461 for this commodity while that number has risen to 2.634 for June 2011 (
USDA logo
C. Supply:
USDA data indicates that production of orange juice has been declining steadily from 2007/08 to the present forecasted 2010/11 amounts. 2007/08 once again represented a peak year in the orange juice market as 1,156 millions of gallons of orange juice were produced by the United States. This number has decreased to a forecasted 900 millions of gallons of orange juice for 2010/11 (

The low levels of production have resulted in higher prices of orange juice for consumers. Domestically, it is predicted that retail prices of orange juice will hit record levels by the winter 2011-12. On May 31 the retail price of concentrated orange juice reached $5.0645 a pound, close to the prior record $5.0703. Much of this is attributed to low inventories in both Florida and Brazil. A dry spring and unusually warm winter in Florida is partly to blame (
Florida: Poor weather is causing a slowdown of orange production.
Brazil: Low orange inventories for 2011.

Both decreased supply and demand for orange juice have negative effects on this popular agricultural commodity. Both consumers and producers have been hurt due to economic and environmental conditions.
Barack Obama and John McCain: 2008 Presidential Candidates

IV. Wild Card: Orange Juice and the 2008 Election

The 2008 presidential election was a turning point on many levels in American politics. Females factored strongly into the race, as Hillary Clinton made a strong attempt at the Democratic nomination and Sarah Palin landed the VP spot on the Republican ticket. Likewise, the first African American president, Barack Obama, was elected. The media, which plays an ever increasing role in American politics, left nothing uncovered in this presidential race, including the unlikely factor of orange juice.

From the start, it was clear that this drink was a favorite of Obama. In December 2006, before he officially entered the race, Obama was seen drinking orange juice with Portsmouth, New Hampshire’s mayor Steve Marchand at a book signing appearance ( This was a frequent sight as the campaign continued and Obama became a serious contender. As it grew closer to election day, Obama’s preference for orange juice sparked controversy that was propagated by media pundits. At a diner on a campaign stop Obama turned down an offer for coffee instead asking for orange juice. Some, such as Chris Matthews thought that it was wrong of Obama to ask for a substitute item and thought that it demonstrated a lack of connection with regular people ( Orange juice, a seemingly everyday product, found a way to enter a political campaign due to the overwhelming amount of media scrutiny that is now a part of the political process.

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