Is frozen concentrated orange juice becoming the ghost of breakfasts past?
Data from Nielsen indicates that orange juice sales are down 13 percent since 2012. And frozen orange juice concentrate has taken the hardest hit in sales, falling a staggering 39 percent in the last four years.
You may remember your parents making orange juice from frozen concentrate. Thaw the can, just add water and presto! Frozen concentrate, an easy way to preserve juice for shipment and storage, revolutionized the citrus industry when it was invented in the 1940s.
But in the 1950s, Tropicana founder Anthony Rossi discovered a way to freeze undiluted orange juice, allowing him to compete with frozen concentrate producers. Consumers gradually became obsessed with freshness, and frozen concentrated orange juice has paid the price.
Now when Americans fill up a glass of orange juice, they overwhelmingly eschew concentrate for fresh. Americans consume 19.1 million gallons of fresh orange juice each month, compared to the measly 1.4 million gallons of frozen concentrate consumed. Looks like the writing’s on the wall.
According to a new report by The Wall Street Journal, things aren’t looking up for orange growers in general. Florida, for example, is on track to produce the smallest orange harvest in 52 years. Low consumer demand coupled with citrus greening ― an incurable bacterial disease ― has devastated orange crops. Florida was once home to four dozen orange juice processors, but now boasts only seven.
To top it off, orange juice has slowly but steadily been losing prime grocery store real estate. Refrigerated orange juice lost 9.7 percent of its shelf space between 2012 and 2014, according to Florida Department of Citrus data.
The Journal attributes the massive decline in orange juice consumption to the rising popularity of smoothies and energy drinks. Cold-pressed juices are also dominating the market due to trendy juice bars and cleanses. And it sure didn’t help that orange juice’s health halo deflated a bit a few years ago.
Here are a few recipes you can make with frozen concentrated orange juice, before it disappears from grocery store shelves for good.