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AU's orange shortage hurts juice industry but benefits growers

Australia's citrus industry has been warned to brace for further orange shortages as tight supply offers gains for growers, but headaches for the juice industry.

Opening export markets and a strong international demand saw Valencia oranges, typically used in juice, fall out of favour for the popular Navel.

But as growers chased returns abroad, it dented the local supply of juicing oranges.

For growers who continued to grow the juicing variety, a tight fruit supply has delivered more profitable returns. A downturn in prices saw a number of Valencia growers rip out their trees in favour of more successful export varieties, including the eating-friendly Navel.

But as demand for juicing fruit remains steady and the available supply declines, growers are benefiting financially.

Just a few weeks ago, Australian juice company Daily Juice confirmed the seasonal supply of Australian fruit saw their orange juice products made using imported oranges.

In a statement, the Lion Group said the company was now back in full production using Australian oranges, and had removed the 100 per cent imported stickers from their products.

Joint managing director of Nippy's Ben Knispel said it had been a tough time for the company, which operated both a juice factory and a citrus orchard.

Having been involved with the company's senior management since 2008, he said it was unfamiliar territory to be in.

"The last year or two is the first time in that period where the juice factory is not making money," Mr Knispel said.

But with the harvest for juicing varieties just around the corner, Mr Knispel remained cautiously optimistic.

Read more at abc.net.au

Publication date: 8/22/2017


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