Adding to the list of recent natural disasters that have affected food costs is Hurricane Ian. Futures for orange juice have already risen due to the hurricane in Florida, and the shortage of fertilizer might have far-reaching effects.
Contract prices of frozen concentrated orange juice peaked at around $1.92 per pound on Wednesday morning, up more than 5 percent from Tuesday.
Oranges and grapefruits are only two of the many types of citrus grown in Florida. The satellite imaging supplier Maxar Technologies predicts that at least 75 percent of the Floridian citrus belt will see significant flooding rainfall during the next 36 hours.
According to Maxar’s WeatherDesk, the northwesterly part of the citrus belt, where the groves are located, is the most at risk for wind damage.
So far this year, futures on orange juice have risen by about 30%. And the storm hit just as citrus producers were getting ready to harvest their fruits, making things much more difficult for them.
In other words, “there will be a lot of fruit drop plus loss of fruit from trees,” as Maxar put it.
The citrus industry was already struggling before Hurricane Ian made landfall.
Due to the California drought & citrus greening in Florida, the United States Department of Agriculture predicted in July that orange output in 2021/2022 will fall to its lowest level in 55 years. Trees infected with citrus greening have inferior fruit yields and reduced fruit sizes. It forces juice manufacturers to utilize more oranges per bottle, driving up production costs and, ultimately, retail prices.
As of August, the price of oranges and tangerines had increased by 14.4 percent year-over-year. In the same time period, the cost of juices and other non-alcoholic beverages increased by 13.1%.