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    Orange crisis to drive up smoothie prices, says Innocent

    innocent Drinks

    A crisis in orange juice production is expected to drive up the cost of smoothies, the boss of Innocent has warned.

    Nick Canney, chief executive of the drinks maker, warned that drought, disease and extreme weather is squeezing companies that use the juice as a key ingredient.

    Disruption has particularly hit Brazil, the world’s largest producer, and Florida.

    Telegraph quoted Canney as saying, “Over time, it will definitely move prices forward again. You have to try and work out how to keep it affordable for people. Genuinely, we’re not profiteering from it at all.

    “We’re just trying to work out how to price it in the right way. Orange within the category [of food and drink] we’re in is 40pc of the business. You can’t not have orange juice.

    “Prices will feed through, and you know, what will happen is you’ll obviously, whether it’s through promotions, or pack sizes or pricing, ultimately there will need to be changes ahead. Anyone who’s supplying or manufacturing orange juice will be under the same pressures as us.”

    He said Innocent had not yet made any decisions about the future prices of its products.

    It has been a difficult run for Innocent. The company posted operating losses of £41.3m in 2022 as it grappled with falling sales, soaring costs and delays at a new £200m eco-factory in the Port of Rotterdam.

    In accounts for that financial year, Innocent called it “perhaps one of the most challenging years for the business”.

    Meanwhile, orange crisis is a matter of concern world wide. Previous shortfall predictions included a 15 percent drop in Brazil’s orange harvest for 2024 compared to last year, but updated estimates suggest a 24 percent reduction in output. 

    Brazil’s orange-growing regions, which produce approximately 70 percent of the global supply, are currently experiencing high rates of “citrus greening”- an incurable bacterial infection thought to be caused by the extreme heat and devastating droughts Brazil experienced last year.

    Florida, the second biggest producer globally and the US’s main orange-growing region, has also experienced climate-related industry setbacks in recent years.

    A series of hurricanes, an unexpected cold snap, and an outbreak of citrus greening significantly reduced the state’s orange-growing capacity. The USDA forecast Florida’s total orange production for 2023–24 at just over 845,000 tons, its second-lowest harvest in nearly 90 years.

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