The Real Reason Orange Juice Will Get More Expensive In 2022

It appears that most things — including foods — will see some significant price hikes in 2022, per CNBC. While many shoppers may have already come to terms with dairy, meat, and produce rising in costs, other products like Pepsi and Oreo cookies have started to feel the crunch, too — according to the article, these goods may go up by 7% more over the course of the year due to supply chain and labor issues, with coupons providing one of the few forms of relief for shoppers. While it might seem like supply chain and worker disruptions lie as the root cause of many of these issues, certain foods have seen price increases due to other factors.

For example, according to U.S. News and World Report, it looks like Florida may produce its smallest orange crop in at least 75 years. If predictions for the Sunshine State's agricultural forecast prove true, farmers might only be able to produce 44.5 million of their 90-pound boxes of oranges this growing season. While this amount may seem huge, it equates to about 1.5 million boxes less than predicted late last year, and will go on record as the smallest crop since 1944. This staggering loss didn't come out of nowhere — Florida farmers have faced increasingly poor growing conditions for about 25 years due to citrus greening, a deadly bacteria that causes trees to quickly lose fruit. While the bacteria may cause major problems, farmers now also have to worry about a slew of other factors.

It's going to be a tough year for orange growers

Citrus farmers have more to overcome than just bacterial problems, however. Newsweek reports that Hurricane Irma decimated orange orchards so badly in 2017, causing $1 million in damage, that the effect continues to keep Florida orange production down. Over the course of 2022, California may even emerge as a larger national supplier of this citrus for the first time in many years because of it. All of this translates into a bad time for orange juice drinkers since Florida oranges provide a good portion of the juice. And CBS 46 Atlanta also found that the poor orange crop should translate to higher prices for orange juice at stores (per a clip on YouTube).

In fact, Florida Citrus found that 90% of all of the state's oranges get processed into juice and producers plan to use every possible fruit available to deliver goods to consumers — though this mere act will drive prices up. Florida's governor, Ron DeSantis, has also proposed legislation under his Freedom First Budget that includes $29.2 million earmarked for providing some relief to citrus growers in the area, per Newsweek, and is specifically aimed at researching and combating the bacteria that continues to ravage the citrus crop. It may take some time for Florida's orchards to recover and orange juice fans should expect to feel that extra price squeeze at stores for now.