Florida's Natural Orange Juice Played A Pivotal Role In WWII

Need some vitamin C? A morning mood booster? Orange juice is the answer. In a ranking of orange juice brands, we determined that Florida's Natural is the best. The majority of its oranges are sourced from Florida, and it offers varying pulp levels to please everyone. It turns out that Florida's Natural is more than just a delicious juice — it played a pivotal part in World War II. During the war, the government needed a way to feed troops vitamin C, and with easily spoiling fresh fruit out of the question, it turned to orange farmers for orange juice.

Florida's Natural, at the time called Florida's Natural Growers, became one of the bigger suppliers of orange juice for the government. It produced orange juice concentrate in a plant in Lake Wales, Florida, which was built to provide wartime supplies of OJ. The vast majority of orange juice headed straight for the soldiers, leaving little supply for the general public. The Florida Citrus Commission even pushed out a lot of wartime ads to explain to the public why they might not find orange juice on their shelves and show how it was helping soldiers keep fighting during the war.

The war also changed the course of orange juice

The efforts to provide troops with vitamin C during World War II made orange juice what we know it to be today. Florida's Natural shifted from primarily a producer of grapefruit to mostly orange juice, but the world not only needed more oranges but orange juice with a long shelf life. Orange juice concentrate was produced on Florida's Natural farms and millions of cans (the best container to preserve and transport orange juice) went to the Pacific and European theaters of war. California, which used to be the top producer of oranges in the country, was surpassed by Florida during this time. 

The close tie between orange juice and the war is part of why orange juice became so popular after the war ended. Soldiers returned home around the same time frozen orange juice concentrate was introduced to grocery stores. This helped orange juice become the breakfast beverage staple it is today. Americans drink an unbelievable amount of orange juice each year — 527,000 metric tons in 2022 alone.