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They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but good grief, is that meal getting expensive. First it was eggs and milk; now orange juice prices are hard to swallow.
The price of orange juice and other citrus products has nearly doubled recently, adding even more financial pain to the breakfast table. What the heck happened, and how can we save money on yet another grocery essential’s escalating price?
We’re here to explain it all. And as usual we’ve got you covered on which stores have the lowest prices on orange juice and how to find coupons to save even more. But first download The Krazy Coupon Lady app or text DEALS to 57299 for more money-saving tips.
Florida is experiencing a serious orange shortage, causing orange juice prices to soar.
The first thing you think of when it comes to Florida? Its oranges. This makes sense because it’s a huge industry for them. But now Florida is expected to produce over 60% fewer oranges this year compared to last. Between hurricane havoc this past fall, a major freeze last January, and an ongoing citrus pandemic, they just can’t catch a break.
Unfortunately, Hurricanes Ian and Nicole caused some pretty serious damage and devastated orange crops. Strong winds spread Florida’s ongoing citrus pandemic called Citrus Greening even further. The USDA lists the disease as one of the most serious citrus plant diseases in the world. Basically, insects will feed on citrus trees’ stems and leaves, then infect them with bacteria.
To cap it all off, a rare cold snap hit Florida in December, where temperatures dropped to as low as 29 degrees in some parts of the state, damaging budding trees.
So what now? Florida is scrambling to find solutions to the citrus crisis. The state just introduced a bill that would give the USDA grants to farmers to help them recover from the damages. Meanwhile, researchers are experimenting with nutritional supplements to strengthen trees and fight bacteria. We don’t know how long it will take the industry to get back on its feet, but in the meantime, producers have to rely more heavily on imported oranges from Latin America.
In some cases, orange juice prices have soared by 50%.
Over 70% of the United States’ orange supply comes from Florida, and 90% of those oranges are used to produce orange juice. On average, it takes a pound of oranges to make a single 8-ounce glass of juice, according to the USDA. And when their orange supply is cut nearly in half, don’t be shocked when you see the price of some orange juice brands double in your local grocery store.
Retail prices recently hit a record $6.27 a gallon for reconstituted juice and $10 a gallon for squeezed (or not from concentrate). The price increase is the latest in a slew of food staples to hit consumers, resulting in higher grocery bills, shifts in purchasing behavior, and impacting food budgets. The same goes for restaurants, particularly brunch spots. All of which may have to adjust their prices and offerings in the coming months.
You can still save on orange juice during the shortage.
The good news for us consumers (but not great for small businesses) is the huge price hike seems to be hitting the smaller, local brands the hardest. Think Natalie’s Unrivaled Orange Juice or Coral Reef Juice Co, which recently hit $7.19 and $5.99 (per 52-ounce bottles), respectively. Companies like these rely solely on Florida-grown oranges.
The two top national orange juice brands, Tropicana and Simply Orange, have luckily held much steadier prices, seeing price jumps on average of only 7% since November. This is because these brands also source their oranges from Brazil, Costa Rica, and Mexico in addition to Florida.
Out of curiosity, I looked back at my Walmart pickup orders from that time. And sure enough — I paid $3.78 for a 52-ounce bottle of Tropicana 100% Orange Juice on Nov. 28. Yesterday I paid $4.18 for the same bottle … a 10% difference.
You can usually find the best orange juice prices at Walmart.
For those who want to find the best price for orange juice, I compared three different varieties of a 52-ounce bottle of 100% pulp-free orange juice at four different national chain grocery stores. By doing this, it’s possible to find the best deal available.
Definitely look for the store brand no matter which retailer you’re at, saving you up to $1 more than competitors. Walmart is our go-to for the all-around best savings on this one, with Great Value’s price coming in hot at just $3.38 per bottle.
A cheaper option is frozen orange juice concentrate. Yes, that same stuff you’d plop into your mom’s old rubber pitcher and hack at with a wooden spoon until it finally dissolved. A 12-ounce can makes 42 ounces of orange juice (or 1.4 liters). While it’s less expensive, it can also be more heavily processed. So you’ll have to decide whether saving the extra couple of bucks is worth it to you. I priced them out as well at the same stores, though brands vary.
Geez Minute Maid, calm down. The rest of the prices aren’t bad at all, especially Great Value at just $1.50.
Go with Sam’s Club if you want to buy in bulk.
Costco has a 3-pack of 59-ounce bottles of Kirkland Signature 100% orange juice for $12.74 (or $4.25 each). That’s still higher than most of the chain store prices, even when priced individually. Plus you have to find room to refrigerate all three.
But Sam’s Club has more options and better deals:
- Simply Orange (2 packs of 52-ounce bottles) — $6.97, or $3.48 each
- Tropicana (2 packs of 52-ounce bottles) — $7.33, or $3.66 each
- Member’s Mark (2 packs of 52-ounce bottles) — $6.67, or $3.33 each
Sam’s Club has Walmart beat as far as price per bottle, but only by $0.05; plus you’ll have to buy two and find room in the fridge for both.
Related: We’re facing a huge lettuce shortage, too. [Sigh]
Use coupons to save on orange juice.
Don’t let these orange juice prices squeeze you dry. Although the prices listed above are regular prices and don’t reflect any sales, you can still take advantage of juice coupons to save money. We update these often, so keep checking back for new ones.
C’mon Florida … you’ve got this. Experts don’t know how long it will take to recover from this citrus disaster. But in the meantime, you can save on orange juice by checking sales and being flexible with the kind of juice you’re buying.