Imported Orange juice crisis, expanding produt developments for domestically produced mandarin juice in Japan.

Orange juice is a familiar drink in the home. Almost all of the juice is imported, but natural disasters and disease outbreaks in orange-producing countries have led to supply shortages, and the yen’s depreciation has also caused prices to soar. Domestic manufacturers unable to secure juice are suspending juice sales one after another. An unprecedented “orange shock” is now sweeping over dining tables.

Based on trade statistics from the Ministry of Finance, the average import price of frozen concentrated orange juice was 293 JPY per liter in 2021, but rose to 550 JPY per liter in 2023, partly due to the weak JPY. The price increase continues to gain momentum.

This is due to the drought, heavy rains, and fruit tree disease in Brazil, a major orange-producing country. Hurricane damage in the U.S. was also serious, causing a global supply shortage. In the case of Japan, frozen orange juice imports plummeted from 30.84 million liters in 2020 to 17.7 million liters in 2022

In 2023, it recovered to 37.38 million liters, but due to the low import volume in 2021 and 2022, domestic stocks of orange juice remain in a state of shortage.

In response to the fruit juice shortage, major domestic manufacturer Asahi Soft Drinks (Tokyo) suspended some of its orange juice sales in 2023, and Snow Brand Megumi Milk has already suspended some of its sales. Morinaga Milk Industry also plans to discontinue sales after June, and a company representative said, “It pains me to say this, but it is difficult to continue sales when the supply of fruit juice is not stable.

What will happen to the price of orange juice in the future? Naohiro Niimura, president of Market Risk Advisory, who is familiar with commodity futures, expressed the view that “prices will gradually decline, depending on the effects of the El Niño phenomenon from May to July. On the other hand, a trading company specializing in fruit juice expresses a sense of crisis, saying, “Another crop failure is inevitable in Brazil this season, and we must be prepared for the end-of-season price to rise to about double the current price in 2025.

Under such circumstances, it is domestically produced mandarin oranges that are attracting the most attention. In April of this year, Kyodo milk industry company brought back a product called “Noukyo Fruit Juice,” which uses only domestically produced fruit juice, for the first time in 14 years. Currently, the product is only sold in the Kanto Koshinetsu region, but the company is considering expanding to other areas in the next year or later. Orders have exceeded expectations since the product went on sale, and the company commented, “Interest in the product is growing, and we hope it will provide an opportunity for people to discover the quality and taste of domestically produced fruit juice.

It seems that there are high expectations for domestically produced mandarin oranges as a way to make up for the lack of oranges.

 

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