NEW YORK —
Add weather to the orange juice problem. A dry spell last year stunted the growth of orange trees in Florida and is hurting production this year, says Michael Smith, president of T&K Futures and Options, based in Port St. Lucie, Florida. In South America, drought is raising concerns about the size of the crop in Brazil.
"There's a confluence of events ... but the citrus greening has probably been the worst problem we've seen over the last few years," Smith says.
The orange crop in Florida, one of the world's biggest orange-growing regions, could fall this year by about 15 percent to 114 million boxes, according to government forecasts. That would be the smallest crop since 1990.
Beverly Bolin, 76, who is retired and lives in Van Nuys, Calif., says she is buying more of the generic store brand products and less tea and coffee. In addition, she only buys orange juice if it's on sale, as long as it's not from concentrate.
"I try to budget, but it's always over budget," she says. "I'm really feeling it."