An Orange Juice Shortage May Be Looming & Hurricane Matthew Is Largely To Blame

If you're a big fan of drinking a tall glass of orange juice in the morning, I have some unfortunate news for you: We're on the brink of a major orange juice shortage, according to our beloved farmers in the Sunshine State of Florida. Due to recent events, we can expect to see oranges — and related products like orange juice — to be in very limited supply for the foreseeable future. What does that mean for those of us living outside of Florida? Generally, when supply goes down, cost goes up. According to Meredith Heil at Thrillist, prices of orange juice have already almost doubled since last summer.

Where is this shortage coming from? Hurricane Matthew, mostly. While without a doubt the biggest concern in natural disasters is taking care of people, these scenarios do also impact our environment. And when our food's growing cycle is disrupted, or conditions change dramatically, it often means that we don't get the harvest farmers plan for. But Matthew isn't the only one to blame here; that's just part of the puzzle. As Heil explains, Florida has actually had several major hits to their orange industry in recent years, including when a "bacteria-borne disease called Huanglongbing, or HLB, swept through southern Florida and fatally infected tons of citrus trees in its wake," severely impacting the citrus fruit's growth in 2005.

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So, what changes, aside from price and availability, can we expect to see when it comes to our beloved oranges? For starters, you can expect to see more "hybrid" juices on the market. You know those delectable fruit cocktails that mix orange with something else, like mango or banana? Yeah, those. They may be cheaper for companies to make, given that they literally require less orange product per container. It's also possible we'll see companies change up their packaging — which, while sometimes adorable and Instagram-worthy, often means that we're getting a little less product than before.

Whether you like your orange juice as a morning pick-me-up or in the form of your favorite cocktail at Sunday brunch, orange juice is basically an American staple. And its health benefits know no bounds. Orange juice is great for helping you ease a hangover, giving you a natural boost of energy, and providing some much needed nutrients when cold and flu season rolls around. Oranges on their own also make excellent and easy snacks. And hey, who doesn't love a little orange mixed into their dessert?

As of right now, it seems like all we can do is wait and see how the actual orange season turns out, but we might want to sweeten our tastebuds to more readily available juices for the time being.

Images: Pexels; Giphy