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Demand For Orange Juice Boosts Florida’s Battered Citrus Industry

Greening is a disease that weakens citrus trees. The fruit becomes unusable. Photo by Amy Green / WMFE

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Some good news for Florida’s battered citrus industry — retail sales have spiked in recent weeks. 

Consumers are loading up on orange juice during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Year-over-year retail sales were up 10 percent during the four-week period ending March 14th — sales were up 40 percent during the last week of the period. 

Andrew Meadows of Florida Citrus Mutual says the boost off-sets restaurant losses for the state’s iconic crop, which has been decimated by citrus greening disease and a competitive beverage market. 

“It is heartening for us to know that people still see orange juice as a significant source of vitamin c that will boost the immune system, and that is what people are looking for right now.” 

Citrus is the leading crop in Florida, which ranks second behind Brazil in oranges for juice. Production here is down by nearly 70 percent from the industry peak some 15 years ago.

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Amy Green

About Amy Green

Reporter and Producer

Amy Green covers the environment for 90.7 News. She is an award-winning journalist whose work has been heard on NPR and seen in PEOPLE, Newsweek, The New York Times and The Christian Science Monitor. She began her career at The Associated Press. Her book on the Everglades, under contract with Johns Hopkins ... Read Full Bio »