Hurricane Irma May Hasten Decline of Orange Juice

Hurricane Irma’s devastating effect on Florida’s orange groves may speed up the end orange juice, still the biggest source of fruit for Americans even amid the longer-term drop in its popularity.

Florida is estimated to have lost as much as 70 percent of its orange crop, which could lead to shortages, price hikes and lost harvests for farmers, the Washington Post reported.

The state’s orange faces other challenges, including a disease called huanglongbing, or citrus greening. The blight causes bitter and deformed fruits, and has cut Florida orange and grapefruit revenue by $4.64 billion in the past 12 years.

Demand for orange juice has dropped since a late 1990s, which the citrus industry blames on changing lifestyles. A decline in sit-down breakfasts, the proliferation of other beverage options at breakfast and health warnings about sugary beverages, including fruit juice, adding to America’s obesity epidemic.

The average American drinks 23.74 pounds

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