Features

  • 13 Mar
    FCOJ – Enough juice for everyone to drink, but the prices will be a little higher. July update from Jack Scoville

    FCOJ – Enough juice for everyone to drink, but the prices will be a little higher. July update from Jack Scoville

    FCOJ held strong in the last few weeks as demand held strong despite the higher prices.  The domestic demand has really improved due to the Coronavirus and COVID-19.  People are remembering that orange juice in whatever form has important vitamins and minerals to support them if the effort to stay safe.  The demand from households has come while the food service demand has dropped but the household demand increase has been larger than the food service decrease.

    Domestic production is down a little bit this year at 67 million boxes.  The reduced production helps keep the supply manageable against the demand.  In fact, the FCOJ Movement and Pack report issued by the Florida Mutual Association notes that stocks levels are starting to become more stable against the previous year.  That implies that prices can at least hold at current levels.

    US imports of FCOJ remain relatively low this year.  US prices are low in the world market, so Brazil producers and even the Mexican producers would rather sell to Europe, where the prices are a lot higher.  The US can also export to Europe as long as the politics are good.  The Trump administration has made life more difficult for the exporters, though, as it has railed against all things European in an effort to promote the America First policies and in general animus to our friends.  The EU will primarily source its FCOJ from Brazil.

    The market has improved in the last half a year and should continue to gain a little bit.  Interest in FCOJ futures is returning to the marketplace, which is good for everyone.  The fundamentals of supply and demand favour somewhat higher prices as well.  There is still going to be juice for everyone to drink, but the prices will be a little higher.

     

    A little background

    FCOJ futures started in New York in the 1960’s but the contract terms were developed in the late 40’s by Florida academic and government officials.

    The contract calls for delivery in Delaware, New Jersey, Florida, and California.  Juicer from other origins can be delivered to the exchange as long as the juice is stored in the designated warehouses.  These origins include Brazil, Costa Rica, and Mexico as well as some other countries.

    FCOJ was the most important component of the industry when the contract started, but now the fresh juice market is bigger.   Even so, the price relationships work out well enough that the FCOJ contract is the benchmark price for all orange juice.  It has become a very important factor in the life of the Florida producer as about 90% of Florida oranges are juiced.

    By Caroline Calder Features News
  • 13 Mar
    Tough times for Aussie growers

    Tough times for Aussie growers

    Problems down under continue to put pressure on juice industry while leading businesses are urged to innovate to keep pace with changing consumer tastes.  One report says that poor prices could mean an end of fresh Australian orange juice in five years, writes FJF.

    It’s not just adverse weather that’s affecting Australia – frosts, bushfires, water, the citrus industry is suffering from an onslaught of issues that are making life tough.  The domestic citrus crop will be way down in volumes, farming is proving a tough livelihood for growers with rising costs, and to top it consumer demands are changing dramatically which makes juice staples less attractive to younger consumers as they look at alternatives.

    Weather issues

    Citrus Australia, the industry body representing the nation’s commercial citrus growers, says major retailers must lift prices to juice growers, who are facing a decline in production due to seasonal conditions. CEO Nathan Hancock says prices paid for fresh juice by supermarkets to juice companies does not reflect the seasonal environmental impacts of frost and drought on the 2019/20 Valencia crop.

    “This limits the amount of money that juice processors can pay growers, which will exacerbate the long-term decline in juice variety production,” Mr Hancock said.

    “The juice growing industry is under immense pressure and Australian consumers may not have access to fresh Australian orange juice in as little as five years.

    “The high cost of water and low returns for juicing oranges mean less incentive to irrigate and maintain the crop.” Mr Hancock said growing juice fruit is unprofitable based on current rates, which barely cover the cost to grow the fruit.

    Operating environment

    Operators in the Fruit Juice Drink Manufacturing industry have faced a difficult trading environment over the past five years, according to analysts IbisWorld.

    Strong competition, both internally from private labels and externally from other beverages, has negatively affected industry revenue. In addition, slow growth in household disposable income has caused consumer preferences to shift to cheaper alternatives over the period.

    As a result, industry revenue is expected to fall at an annualised 0.4% over the five years through 2018-19, to be worth AUD822.8 million. However, revenue is anticipated to increase by 0.8% in the current year, due to rising health consciousness.

    If the domestic market fails it is likely we will see more imported frozen products, or non-refrigerated juice products, rather than fresh imports it has been suggested.

    Look to innovation

    The Australian Beverages Council is positive about the industry and sees premium products as key to success going forward.  Since 2008, chilled juice has been increasing in market value at the expense of ambient juice, growing in value by more than AUD140 million. While the overall value of the juice market has been declining since 2011, forecasts indicate value losses will slow and value should peak this year due to consumers opting for more premium chilled products. Looking further ahead, the expectation is that growth will remain modest across the category with the greatest promise of better margins and sales in premium lines. Clearly this will be contingent upon the local supply of fruit regaining some certainty over the forward horizon, comments the Council.

    “It could be noted that Australians on average only consume about half recommended fruit in their diet, so perhaps innovation really is key”

    Some of the premium lines introduced by Members of Juice Australia include combinations of fruit and vegetable juices, greater density juices which have been pressed or crushed, and unique juice blends, many of which include coconut water. Some producers have also branched out into other categories, such as non-dairy yoghurt and sparkling juices or flavoured waters.

    Just recently, market research on Australian fruit juice suggested millennials and families with young children are key targets for premium juice products. The report found millennials perceive juice consumption as an indulgence, while families with young children generally value high quality ingredients as a key factor in the decision-making process.

    It could be noted that Australians on average only consume about half recommended fruit in their diet, so perhaps innovation really is key here as the country is far down the list when it comes to consumption of juice.  Their favourite fruit is apparently apple, followed by banana, favourite juice consumed orange, followed by juice blends such as tropical mixes.

    Positive vibes despite coronavirus concerns

    The Citrus Australia Market Outlook Forum wrapped up in Melbourne recently with the industry looking forward to the season ahead. Citrus Australia Chair Ben Cant says “There is a huge amount of opportunities in export, and there are a lot of trees that are going in,” he said. “There is a lot of confidence in the industry that our record trade figures are going to continue going forward. Another key message is getting to know your consumer/customer and understand the supply chain, through technology, blockchain and genetic testing. There is also a lot of technology and it’s amazing the profound impact technology is having on the industry.”

    Another issue on the radar was the Coronavirus, with China a key trading partner with Australia, but Mr Cant says it is a situation the industry will monitor as the season gets closer. “It can certainly go either way,” he said. “That may be due to the reduced economic activity, and consumer behaviour focusing on essential items, and purchasing items like citrus will be reduced. But, that said, the markets are empty of fruit and 1.3 billion Chinese people, a significant portion, who are going to be looking for a Vitamin C hit, to increase immune levels. So, we are confident that there might be a spike in sales this year. Anecdotally, we saw that with trade data, post-SARS in citrus sales. So, we are hoping the Chinese will be back on board and better than ever.”

    Australian Beverages Council, IbisWorld, Citrus Australia.

    By Caroline Calder Features
  • 16 Jan
    Latest: Frozen Concentrated OJ Futures

    Latest: Frozen Concentrated OJ Futures

    Jack Scoville March update 2020

    FCOJ prices yo-yo as coronavirus adds to woes

    FCOJ futures have had a relatively wild ride in the last few weeks.  Prices went above 102.00 May for the first time since the beginning of the year in February and acted ready to move higher and perhaps significantly higher.  Then, prices stalled and futures moved back down into the trading range between 98.00 and 102.00 for a few weeks before dropping below support and testing down to 92.15 May.  Then the Coronavirus hit and futures went back up to the range.  Now prices are fading lower again.

    It has been quite a ride and it is somewhat disappointing that the onslaught of the Coronavirus has not really produced more demand for FCOJ in the American market.  After all, Americans should want to try to prevent getting the virus and one way to do that is by drinking a glass of Orange Juice each morning.  But the demand bump has been minimal and this highlights the problems with the market right now.

    There are plenty of Oranges in Florida right now for making FCOJ.  The crop is still being harvested but all reports indicate that a bumper crop has arrived.  There are reports of some production problems this year in Mexico from earlier dryness, but Brazil’s crops are looking good and will offer plenty of competition for sales abroad and here at home.

    On the demand side, the Coronavirus makes transportation that much more difficult.  The workers on the ships could carry the disease and people with the disease or even virus free are not going out too much.  So, the demand might crop due to the virus instead of increase.

    FCJ futures can hold in the 90’s for the foreseeable future either way.  Prices might be cheap enough although historically prices have been even lower that the current levels.  But there is no real reason for any kind of a major up move in futures to develop anytime soon.  The best the market can hope for is a choppy and sideways trade rather than a V bottom and a big move from here.  We will need to absorb the harvest before any kind of a major rally can even be contemplated.  The amount of FCOJ made from the current crop plus imports will go a long way to deciding the longer term upside price potential.  For now one would think that the price rally potential is rather slim.

    By Caroline Calder Features
  • 16 Jan
    Putting the ‘great’ into pineapple juice

    Putting the ‘great’ into pineapple juice

    Josep Lay, Managing Director of PT Great Giant Pineapple provides some insight for fruitjuicefocus.com

    Principal producers

    The big four pineapple producers in the world are Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, and Costa Rica (85-90%).  Thailand’s production in 2019 is expected to drop to 1.1 million tonnes.  The Philippines production remains stable over recent years, while Costa Rica is now producing more in NFC.  Indonesia’s production keeps growing steadily but will not be able to substitute the shortfall of other countries.

     

    A passion for pineapple – PT Great Giant Pineapple

    PT Great Giant Pineapple (GGP) operate on a 34,000 ha plantation area in Lampung, Indonesia, with some 25,000 employees.  This is the world’s single largest integrated green production facility producing more than 700,000 tonnes of pineapple annually. Rainforest Alliance Certified – GGP commits to control every step of the process from plantation to processing and shipping.

    Fully traceable

    Their system and process allows the company to trace from finished product to a specific planting area. Since our establishment in 1979, PT Great Giant Pineapple’s (GGP) has become the largest private label manufacturer of canned pineapples in the world and a prominent source of premium pineapples. Being farmers at heart we pride ourselves on implementing sustainable agricultural practices, at the core of our business operations. With one in every 4 pineapple originating from GGP, our plantation covers 90,000 acres, and our unrivalled expertise in fruit cultivation is supported by a seamless supply chain alongside our fully integrated facilities.

    Sustainable

    We began implementing our sustainability initiatives form 1980 by actively maintaining our natural lagoons to harvest rainwater thereby reducing our consumption of ground water.  Since then we have invested in various initiatives relating to the environment as well as the social and economic welfare of local communities.

    Premium products

    GGP are the largest private label manufacturer of canned pineapples in the

    world serving leading retailers and brands from over 60 countries with a market share of 25%. Premium products include pineapple in pouches, fillings and spreads, canned pineapples and tropical fruit salad, pineapple juice concentrate (PJC), clarified pineapple concentrate (CPC), deionised clarified pineapple concentrate (DCPC), not from concentrate (NFC).

    PRODUCTION OVERVIEW

    Costa Rica pineapple landscape. After reaching a USD200 million record in exports in 2016, in 2018 the value of pineapple juice sold by Costa Rican companies abroad fell to USD104 million. The 2016 advantages such as climate and production problems in South East Asian countries such as Indonesia and the Philippines contributed to the spike in trade.

    At the beginning of 2019 there were 44,500 hectares dedicated to fruit cultivation in Costa Rica, however because of high production costs and a drop in International prices predicted by 2021, the cultivated area could fall to 38,000 ha. Growing competition from Colombia, Panama and Ecuador producers who have managed to gain market share in the US and Europe is noted as the reason.

    Thailand pineapple harvest. Experiencing the lowest tonnage in the last 20 years Thailand has significant production hurdles to overcome.  Due to the very low price of fresh pineapple in previous seasons, farmers did not take care of plantations and this has affected total production volumes, size of fruit and quality. Low yields are predicted to continue in the short term, and also noted is that pineapple production is seen as more labour intensive than other crops such as mango, jackfruit, or rubber. There has been a significant consolidation of canaries in the region from 2011-2019.

    Philippines and Indonesia. Philippines has been facing dry spells although predictions are for this to normalise, production is slightly less compared to 2018. The dry season in Indonesia has turned into the ‘long drought’ from May-Nov 2019, not enough rainfalls during those period. Production of Indonesia in 2019 is expected to be higher than 2018. Due to long drought in 2019, Indonesia is expecting a lower production volume in Q1/2020 around by 20%.

    Production opportunities for GGP.  Thailand is facing a crisis in pineapple industry, not enough workers and no interest for Thailand’s young generation to be a farmer. Declining trends in Thailand’s pineapple tonnage provides opportunities for growth of production volume at GGP. GGP is preparing to minimize the impact of El Nino or drought by investing more water reservoirs. GGP’s water reservoir enable to sustain for 90 days without rain. GGP is a company concerned with ‘Going Green and Sustainability’, creating a food estate that has no waste, every single item is utilized, from the pineapple skin, manure from the cattle operation as well as other solid waste.

    Data from CBI – Market and quality 

    The European Union is the largest market of pineapple juice with more over 50% share of the total world imports according to the CBI. The Netherlands is the largest European importer of pineapple juice, followed by France and Germany. The major developing country suppliers are Thailand and Costa Rica.

    Pineapple juice may contain finely divided insoluble solids, but it does not contain pieces of shell, seeds, or other coarse or hard substances or excess pulp. The juice intended for export is usually concentrated and later reconstituted with water due to practical reasons of lowering transportation costs which would otherwise include transport cost for water and packaging.

    Quality

    The basic quality requirements for pineapple juice are defined by the following parameters:

    • Colour: characteristic of the variety, most commonly golden yellow to amber.
    • Flavour and odour: distinct pineapple flavour and odour, free from foreign flavours and odours.
    • Brix level: quality of concentrated pineapple juices is mainly defined by the Brix level (sugar content of an aqueous solution) and Brix level directly influences the price of the product. According to trade classification the highest category for pineapple juices is defined with Brix level exceeding 67. However, in European industry practice the most common concentrated pineapple juices used by bottlers are around 60-61 Brix and 65 Brix. According to the European Union directive minimum Brix level for reconstituted pineapple juice is 12.8.

    Additional quality requirements

    • Pulp content: pulp content may vary and commonly it is between 6 and 18% in the concentrated pineapple juice. Importers may require more pulp content as visible pulp in juices is becoming more popular among European consumers.
    • Acid level: citric acid level is beside Brix the most common parameter that influence the quality and price of the product. Usually acid level for concentrated pineapple juice is 2-4% of citric acid.

    Which European markets offer opportunities for exporters of pineapple juice

    Imports

    Over the last five years, imports of pineapple juice in the European Union have increased annually by an average 9% in value, but decreased by 1% in quantity, reaching EUR521 million and 376,000 tonnes in 2016.

    Decreasing import quantity compared to value indicates an increase in import prices in 2016. The average import price for concentrated pineapple juice in Europe increased from EUR1.7/kg (CIF) to EUR2.4/kg.

    European Union imports of pineapple juice are concentrated, and three top importers (the Netherlands, France and Spain) together account for more than 60% of total European imports.

    The largest imports from countries outside the European Union are from Thailand and Costa Rica. Together they hold almost 80% of the total market. Although the Philippines is one of the largest exporter of pineapple juice in the world, they are traditionally more focused on the US market.

    Imports from Brazil showed very significant average annual growth of 103% over the last five years. Other growing exporters are China (56% annual growth) South Africa (37%) and Kenya (15%).

    The leading external destinations for pineapple juice processed in Europe are Saudi Arabia, Iran and Egypt. There was a very high export increase to Iran, from EUR129 thousand in 2012 to EUR3.4 million in 2016. This export to Iran is mainly recorded from Germany.

    Sources:  CBI, PT Great Giant Pineapple, ITC Trade Map, Central American Data, Thai Statistics Office,

     

    By Caroline Calder Features
  • 17 Nov
    Juice Reinvented

    Juice Reinvented

    Juice blending –

     In today’s world, beverage processing must be more efficient and sustainable than ever before. By reinventing the standard JNSD processing line, Maria Norlin, Sub-category Manager for JNSD & Beverage and her team at Tetra Pak divided the process into two separate streams, one for concentrate and one for water.

    This would help producers to minimise environmental impact while saving in both energy and water consumption – the story of this unmatched innovation unfolds below.

    The JNSD portion of the beverage industry is stable and conservative in many ways, with industrial practices built up over decades to ensure product safety and production efficiency. However, a range of consumers trends – from increased concerns for health and calls for more natural alternatives to growing environmental awareness -– are putting pressure on JNSD manufacturing to rethink traditional practices.

    We at Tetra Pak took the challenge and explored how we could make juice production more sustainable while maintaining product safety and shelf-life. We also wanted lower processing costs, to achieve these goals, we needed to find innovative solutions which save energy and water. And we did this by combining existing technologies-– filtration and UV treatment. Our experimentation and innovative equipment and processing parameters yielded extremely satisfying results.

    This was the start of a long-term project to develop a low-energy JNSD line. Traditionally, we pasteurize the full volume (juice concentrate + water), where the most energy-intensive process step is heat treatment. In the new line, we pasteurize the smallest possible volume, the concentrate. The rest which is water is treated separately with more cost-effective aseptic technologies such as filtration and UV light. This new technology can greatly cut down heat treatments -– reducing energy consumption by about 67%. It also reduces water used in cleaning in place (CIP) and sterilization in place (SIP) by about 50%.

    THE CHALLENGE: RETHINKING THE JNSD LINE WITH EXISTING TECHNOLOGIES

    In JNSD solutions commonly used today (Figure 1), all ingredients are blended with water before going to the pasteurizer for heat treatment to deactivate harmful microorganisms. Even with modern pasteurizers though, which use regenerative heat to drive efficiencies, this is an energy-intensive approach which faces added challenges at scale. For instance, each product change in a large system volume of 2,000 litres is likely to create significant product loss and require additional, resource-intensive cleaning steps.

    Informed by these challenges and past attempts to address them –- such as adding water to the concentrate as steam and then diluting it with cold water -– we decided to pursue a completely new approach. By leveraging existing technologies and the natural properties of water, we reinvented the traditional, resource intensive JNSD line and split it into two streams: one for water and one for concentrate and pre-mixes.

    Unlike JNSD products, water is a clear liquid, which makes it very suitable for UV light treatment to ensure the required reduction of pathogens. Water is also free from cloud, particles, and the pulp typically found in juices and juice-based beverages, which allows for filtration that targets spoilage organisms.

    In our new line concept, these lower-energy processes (i.e. UV light and filtration) are used to purify the water first, before it is blended with the concentrate –- which is still treated by heat, but at a greatly reduced volume (about 30%) given the absence of water. 

    THE OUTCOME: LESS ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT, MORE OPERATIONAL SAVINGS

    To verify that our new line concept met the formal test requirements we had established, we built a test plant and ran an operational test with nearly 8,000 juice packages.

    As the summary table demonstrates, pilot testing was highly successful. The required log reductions for food safety and food spoilage were achieved –- and surpassed -– with a combination of filters and UV treatment. Our targets for reduced operational cost were also met, with yearly savings estimated at 92 thousand Euros when assuming a production time of 20 hours a day, 5 days a week.

    In terms of investment costs, based on the filtration and UV equipment we selected, our new JNSD line was only 5% more expensive than the current solution. Accounting for operational savings, this investment cost would be paid back before our ROI target of a maximum of 6 months.
    Importantly, beyond surpassing our food safety targets and showcasing operational costs savings of 67% relative to current solutions, pilot testing underscored significant sustainability gains – which were also a key focus area of ours.

    At Tetra Pak, we are committed to helping drive more environment-friendly processing solutions – which are also in high demand from our customers given heightened consumer awareness around sustainability and increasing demands for businesses to take climate actions.

    To that end, in developing this new line, we set targets of reducing water consumption by 25% and energy consumption by 40%, both of which we surpassed. In pilot testing, energy consumption was estimated to reduce by 67% and water consumption by 50% from 96,000 l/week to 48,000 l/week. By processing ingredients in two separate streams, whereby only 30% of the volume is heat treated through pasteurization, producers are better equipped to meet one of modern manufacturing’s most common challenges: producing more, with less.

     

    By Caroline Calder Features
  • 17 Nov
    You got to love statistics

    You got to love statistics

    Florida Report

    Fruitjuicefocus caught up with the team behind the October Citrus Report to find out more about the origins of FASS, the Florida Ag Statistics Service, and what it takes to create such a significant annual report.

    The Florida Agricultural Statistics Service (FASS), also referred to as the Florida Field Office of the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is located in Maitland, Florida. It is compiled of 7 office and 11 field full-time state employees. It is the main agricultural data gathering agency in Florida with the purpose of collecting, compiling and publishing current citrus statistics.

    Beginnings

    The statistical series on Florida citrus began in the late nineteenth century when recorded shipments of citrus and County Commissioner estimates of tree population and production were periodically summarized. Official inspection records later improved the series for both production and tree population.  Joint efforts of state and industry groups provided a tree census in 1934 and again in 1956.

    The 1956 census was a significant contribution to the series identifying individual groves by mapping and recording variety, age, location, and tree-numbers.  The 1956 census was updated by annual sample surveys from 1960 until 1965 when a complete and detailed census was efficiently obtained with the aid of aerial photography.

    Early forecasting

    Early attempts at forecasting citrus production consisted of various ways of gathering and summarizing subjective evaluations of crop condition.  Objective counts and measurements were used in citrus production as early as 1939.  Most of these early systems became unsatisfactory for present day needs but have paved the way to the relatively sophisticated methodology now being used in Florida.

    “The first Citrus forecast using objective measurements, which is the methodology we use today, was in 1939.  Prior to that, and as early as 1910’s to 1920’s, forecast were based on visual observation and grower reports,” reports USDA analyst Bill Curtis.

     

    “The format used in 1939 was similar to what is still used today, broken out by variety and type.  At the end of each season, a summarization is done to quantify the most recent years of Florida Citrus. It is put in a book to show comparisons between the most recent season to previous seasons. The book we put out annually covers the most recent 20 seasons, and includes both ‘Citrus Summary’ data and ‘Tree Inventory’ data.”

    Present methodology

    Present citrus forecasting considers production to be uniquely defined as a function of four variables: 1) number of bearing trees in the population 2) average number of fruit per tree 3) size of fruit at maturity, and 4) natural loss of fruit between original count and maturity (drop).

    Today the data are collected by a broad program of sample surveys throughout the year. Survey data are collected primarily through objective and non-objective field work, but also by mail surveys or through contacting growers and farmers in person. This service is provided by a cooperative agreement between the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) and the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS).

     

    The Florida Field Office, like all NASS field offices, submits recommendations to the national headquarters in Washington, DC. Commodity experts review all State recommendations and issue State and National estimates to the public on scheduled release dates throughout the year. Cooperative agreements with State governments permit additional estimates to be made at the State and/or County level for some commodities.

    Who are the people behind the report?

    “For state employees, each of the full time field employees are exclusively trained to perform their duties. The training is primarily on the job as what we do is uniquely different from what most people have experienced“, says Mr Curtis.

    “In the field, all full time employees are Research Assistants with college degrees, or have worked with FASS as seasonal employees at least four years before being hired full time. All of them must be able to accurately perform field surveys. We stress accuracy in counting fruit, estimating trees, and objectively measuring fruit size and drop.

    “Understanding basic mathematical concepts is a must. Also, they work independently after being trained, so we try to hire people who are self- starters and can work on their own. They must be willing to get dirty occasionally. One of the surveys is counting fruit on a citrus tree. For that they would have to be able to count fruit by climbing a tree or a ladder, and the trees get grimy at times. “

    In the office, mathematical skills and logical skills are a must, says Mr Curtis.  “There are three state Research Assistants with the same requirements who compile the report. The staff assistant people personnel we hire must be able to logically prepare the information for the report.”

    A Federal employee Mathematical Statistician is in charge of assuring the information is statistically sound. This staff member runs the statistical information to combine everything into a format that can be put into a report. With several years of data and regressions, edits are run and checked to assure accuracy.

    “This is all done under the oversight of the Federal ‘State Statistician’, Mark Hudson, says Curtis, “he reviews everything before it presented to the (ASB) Agricultural Statistics Board.

    What are the main aims of the report?

    The primary goal of FASS is to provide farmers, ranchers and other producers of agricultural commodities with unbiased and reliable statistical reports to assist them in making production and marketing decisions. Other important users of agricultural statistics are farm organizations, agribusiness and transportation firms, state and national policy makers, and foreign buyers of agricultural products.

    Logistics – how is this done? The current citrus acreage, as reported by FASS in the August 28, 2019 Commercial Citrus inventory Report for Florida Citrus is 430,601 acres.

    Field staff are located throughout the Florida Citrus region. They perform the survey work on the three major surveys (Limb Count, Size and Drop, and Tree inventory).

    “Before 1939, the methodology was different”, says Curtis. “Without going into detail, what has changed since then is how we perform some of our objective surveys. The Limb Count or fruit per tree survey was changed in 1956 to a Cross-sectional Area survey. The development of callipers used to measure the size of the fruit was in the 1950’s. Tree inventory using aerial photography goes back as far as 1966. Probably one of the most recent changes is using Geographical Information System (GIS) technology for photo interpretation and grove change detection in 2005. This was a huge cost savings as we no longer had to hire someone to fly over the states citrus.

    “From a personal standpoint, I remember as late as the 1990’s carrying a pager in the field, and when I received a page having to find a phone booth to call back to the office. Obviously cell phones, and computer technology has speed up the process of getting information from the field to the office and vice versa in a more expedient and efficient manner.

    “When I came to the office in the early 2000’s, many of the charts we used were done with pen and paper,“ comments Curtis. “Now regressions and historical data in chart format is at our fingertips and can be looked at pretty immediately with the use of computers programs. “

     

    Getting the report out on time.

    “It’s not an option being late”, says Mr Curtis. “It is a federal regulation set by USDA policy. The forecast data is conditions as of the first of the month. So, it all comes down to scheduling. Making sure the field staff has completed the work as close to the end of the month as possible, while still giving the office staff time to compile the information for the forecast. The two field supervisors monitor the work of each of their employees to make sure this happens. The office supervisor works with staff to make sure the citrus board is ready to be conducted on time.”

    How important is the report to Florida growers?

    “Growers, processers, researchers and many other industries use this information. Not just the production forecast, but the value aspect and the tree and acreage data. I can’t speak for them all” comments Curtis, “but there seems to be an interest in what we do to help them make decisions on planting, selling and buying.”

    What next for the report? 

    “Trying to get out the most accurate report. With the changing industry, the greening, smaller crops in many instances, we strive to get the numbers right. We are open to new technology when it becomes affordable and efficient. There are new methods of counting trees and using drones that to this point have not been used. There may be ways to better do what we do, but until we find them to be statistically sound, we will stick with what we know works.” Concludes Mr Curtis.

    Challenges

    “Lots of challenges exist. There are of course diseases, and pests. These things change the face the industry, and how affordable it is for the grower. Then there are the natural disasters, such as freezes or hurricanes. The many freezes in the 1980’s moved the crop south. The hurricanes in the 2004-2005 and 2005-2006 reduced the crop size, and now over the past decade, citrus greening. This affects us, because when the crop fluctuates, it is harder to forecast. Also, we have to play catch up on tree numbers and acres if we are not careful. There will always be challenges. “

    By Caroline Calder Features
  • 16 Sep
    Juice transportation excellence

    Juice transportation excellence

     

    Safe transportation of truit juices on the high seas

    Ziemann Holvrieka show how it equips cargo ship with juice tanks

    In order to transport fresh juices and juice concentrates as efficiently as possible, Citrosuco, the largest global producer of orange juice concentrate, relies on tanks and process technology from the plant manufacturer Ziemann Holvrieka. The equipment was installed on the cargo ship MV Citrus Vita Brasil, which is now tailor-made and designed for the transport of juices. 27 million litres of juice can be transported from Santos in Brazil to the United States and Europe in a total of 15 tanks.

    In the maritime industry, innovation is often achieved through conversion and this is what happened in the development of MV Citrus Vita Brasil: The container ship MV Hermes Arrow, was converted into a combined juice tanker for not-from-concentrate (NFC) and for concentrate orange juice (FCOJ). Eight tanks are for dedicated solely to NFC and seven double-purpose tanks used for loading NFC and FCOJ. The new juice tanker, which is the length of two football fields, is capable of holding 7 million gallons of juice, equivalent to a capacity of 27,000 m³. The ship was a former container ship without cooling system. The old construction, used for accommodating containers, had to be removed along with the hatch covers. After inserting the new vertical stainless steel tanks into the insulated holds, an additional double bottom and new shelter deck were fitted and a new cooling system was installed.

    Perfected Aseptic Tank Engineering

    The stainless steel used for the tanks complies with the highest DIN standards. Moreover, the inner surface, meaning the complete inner tank welding, strictly conforms to ASME standards: 0.8 μm Ra and zero indication.

    The ship’s cargo tanks are cylindrical units with vertical axes. The bottom of each tank slopes to a definite lower point; while the top is slightly conical. The pipework is connected to the lowest point to facilitate complete draining of the tanks. Propeller-type tank agitators ensure circulation of the tank contents when NFC orange juice is being carried.

    Cargo pumps are installed at the bottom of the cargo hold between the cargo tanks. Frequency-controlled, electrically driven centrifugal pumps are used to handle the NFC orange juice, while a wider pipework system and a series of frequency-controlled, electrically driven positive displacement pumps support the FCOJ process. Radar level gauges determine how much product is in the tanks, and nitrogen pipes deliver nitrogen to fill the headspace in the tanks. Temperature sensors are used to monitor the cooling system.

    A protective atmosphere of nitrogen is used in all tanks and pipework systems to assure the juice quality. The ship has an on-board nitrogen tank to provide a suitable buffer for maintaining appropriate levels in the tanks and pipework while at sea. Nitrogen is pumped into the tanks from a ship-based source when juice is discharged at the port.

    Special diaphragm and sealing solutions are integrated into valves to ensure sterility. Larger valves which cannot be sealed with diaphragms are equipped with valve rod seals fit with alcohol reservoirs to support volume changes and wiping action on exposed sections of the valve. Flanges are designed according to the highest aseptic standards to eliminate cavities where bacteria could form. “This guarantees that the juice is not contaminated by harmful microorganisms”, explains Jurgen Stuijts, International Sales Manager Juice & Beverages at Ziemann Holvrieka.

    Customized tank cleaning systems ensure aseptic conditions during cleaning and disinfection of the large tanks. Fresh water for cleaning and rinsing of the tanks is supplied via a separate fresh water tank installed in the forward part of the vessel. After cleaning, the empty tanks are filled with nitrogen to ensure sterility.

    Customized Process Technology

    All calculations and layouts were approved and released in advance by an independent classification society. This ensures that all components meet the high standards required for transport vessels in the juice industry. Only when a ship meets all specifications at the time of completion, it receives complete certification. Without it is not permitted to sail. Jurgen Stuijts describes the particular challenge posed during installation of the tanks: “Every ship is built differently, so the arrangement of load points varies. The tanks stand on a foundation which must be mounted exactly on these load points. The installation is therefore a tailored solution.”

    Electrically driven refrigerant compressors were installed in the deckhouse. Brine from the evaporator room circulates through the heat exchangers in each hold, with large fans providing air to all parts of the insulated holds through strategically placed ductwork. Juice is loaded at the required temperature, and the refrigerating system has the capacity to maintain this temperature, no matter what ambient conditions are encountered during the voyage. The cooling capability of the equipment is 5° C to -10° C. The ship is also equipped with an emergency generator, designed to protect the cargo in the event of a electrical failure.

    Additionally, state-of-the-art measuring and control technology, circulation pumps and discharge pumps were installed, along with a nitrogen system to provide a nitrogen gas cushion in the filled tanks above the cargo. A stand-alone CIP system was included in the process installation. A double piping system was installed for the combined transportation of NFC and FC orange juice.

    In case of MV Citrus Vita Brasil, an additional request was for a development and construction timeframe of 10 months – and this target was met. 

    Reliable support that leads to success

    The automation of MV Citrus Vita Brasil is cutting edge to ensure correct processes and the required asepticism. Human error can be eliminated as a result of this automation system. In particular, electronically controlled processes for filling and emptying of the tanks have been improved to ensure the sterility of the end product.

    The cargo system of the fruit juice carrier is equipped with clean-in-place and sterilize-in-place installations. Stainless steel pipe manifolds are used on board and on shore during loading and unloading of the ship. Food grade hoses connect the two manifolds. However, the piping manifolds and hoses must be sterilized before the product is pumped through them. Ziemann Holvrieka provides training for the crew to reduce the risk of contamination with microorganisms when sterilization is not realized properly.

    Smooth cooperation with a happy ending

    “This was a unique project for us. Citrosuco’s experience in ship management combined with our know-how in the construction of special tanks ensures high quality,” explains Jurgen Stuijts. “Citrus Vita Brasil will provide greater transport capacity and greater flexibility in the distribution of orange juice to our customers to meet the demand of different markets,” said Mário Bavaresco Júnior, President of Citrosuco, in a statement.

    Visit us at the Juice Summit 2019 at the 1st and 2nd October 2019 in Antwerpen, Belgium.

    By Caroline Calder Features
  • 16 Sep
    From sweet to savoury: how vegetables are transforming fruit juice

    From sweet to savoury: how vegetables are transforming fruit juice

     

    Johan Cerstiaens, Commercial Director at SVZ provides some insight

    From breakfast go-to, to post-gym treat, fruit juice is a staple for millions of consumers globally. As a beverage that is marketed as healthy and natural, it is especially enjoyed by busy consumers who see it as a way to easily consume essential minerals and vitamins. Supermarket aisles reflect this popularity, boasting a broad range of colourful combinations to suit all tastes and preferences: from conventional flavours like orange and apple to blends including red berries, tropical flavours or superfruits.

    Are juices too sweet?

    In recent years fruit juice has slightly fallen from grace. While many brands have reformulated to remove added sugar, due to the high levels of naturally occurring sweetness in juice, even completely natural drinks have been caught up in the recent ‘sugar backlash’ that has swept the food and drink industry. Fruit juice has therefore presented somewhat of a dilemma for manufacturers and health policy makers, as they try to ensure the reduction of sugar content in drinks, whilst still recognising the health benefits of juice. For example, while both Public Health England and UNESDA, the Union of European Soft Drinks, have included fruit juice as part of their sugar reduction programmes, products which contain 100% fruit juice are currently exempt from the UK’s sugar tax.

    Concerns about the sugar content of fruit juice aren’t just coming from regulatory authorities, however. As consumers pay more attention to their health and wellbeing, they are increasingly looking for high-quality, natural drinks which deliver nutritional and even psychological benefits as well as a great taste. This demand for healthy, multi-benefit drinks represents a great opportunity for both juice manufacturers and ingredient suppliers to find innovative new ways to satisfy consumers’ changing needs.

    Despite the challenges facing the industry, juice is still immensely popular with younger consumers, with recent research from Kantar finding that 36% of respondents drank juice daily. The appetite for fruit juice is evidently still there, so how can both manufacturers and brands delight consumers while satisfying calls for more variety and less natural sweetness?

    Vegetables hold the answer

    Amid all the concern about the sugar content of fruit juice, it makes sense for brands to turn to vegetable-based blends. With a more savoury flavour, vegetables have less sugar and calories than fruit, while still being rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Encouragingly, almost 40% of those surveyed by Kantar felt positive about juices and smoothies containing vegetables. In fact, many consumers have already been exposed to vegetable-based drinks and juices in supermarkets – Cawston Press and Innocent for example, have been selling ‘brilliant beetroot’ and ‘easy greens’ juices respectively for years.

    The veg juice trend also extends to the largest industry players. The Coca Cola Company for example have been exploring more savoury flavours with its recently launched 100% vegetable juice Minute Maid range, which features flavours such as tomato, carrot, celery, cucumber and beetroot. In the UK, Morrisons has recently added to its chilled juice range with an orange and carrot blend, whilst cold-pressed ‘raw’ smoothie brand Savsé combine superfruits such as blueberries with beetroot, kale, spinach in their ‘super blue’ drink.

    Grown-up tastes

    By exploring more savoury flavours – in combination with, or replacing, the sweet – manufacturers are not only cutting back on sugar content. They’re also appealing to consumers with more adventurous palates, who want to push their taste experiences beyond the norm.

    Also, with less and less young people drinking alcohol –19% of those in the 16-24 age bracket report they do not drink at all – vegetable-based blends are a soft drink alternative to alcohol that is more suited to grown-up palates.[1] English juice manufacturer Pixley Berries, for example, is specifically catering to this market through a range of blends and flavours including a beetroot and rhubarb juice that is ‘naturally low in sugar’.

    The future of juice

    With fruit juice still a recommended element of a healthy, balanced diet, it’s undeniable that concerns surrounding sweet drinks are motivating manufacturers to explore more savoury juice flavours. By utilising ingredients such as spinach, celery, beetroot and carrot in their juices, brands will be able to naturally reduce sugar content, while also attracting adventurous consumers and those who are looking for more ‘adult’ soft drink alternatives.

    Here at SVZ, our portfolio of premium, sustainably sourced ingredients allows producers to create innovative new flavour combinations to excite their customers. By taking advantage of our high-quality vegetable ingredients for their juices, manufacturers can rest assured that they will not only cut back on sugar content but also provide consumers with the best possible taste.

     

    For further information please contact Dejan Trifunovic

    SVZ International BV, email:

    dejan.trifunovic@svz.com

     

     

    By Caroline Calder Features
  • 15 Jul
    FCOJ futures – September Report from Jack Scoville

    FCOJ futures – September Report from Jack Scoville

    Orange Juice futures have been on a bit of a ride over the last few weeks as the hurricane season finally started to get active in the Atlantic Ocean.

    The season had been quiet and the new crop Oranges have been developing nicely.  The peak of the hurricane season has brought more action to the weather in the oceans and more price volatility to futures.

    Early season growth in Florida was characterized by warm and mostly dry weather.  Producers were forces to use irrigation early this year to keep the trees in good condition and to promote good flowering for the coming crop.  This is coming in the state during the dry season, but the season went a little longer than normal this year.  It was also very warm and that made watering the trees even more important and dry and warm weather can rapidly deplete water resources.  This is especially true in Florida which has sandier soils than most areas.  It is after all a peninsula stuck out into the ocean.  Better rains started to appear about six weeks ago and this meant the water pumps could be turned off as Mother Nature kept the trees in good condition.  USDA has responded to the good growing conditions by keeping production ideas strong for the coming year at well over 70 million boxes for Florida alone.

    Now the hurricane season is passing its peak days and the ocean is much more active.  Hurricane Dorian devastated northern Bahamas but largely missed Florida.  More tropical waves are coming off the African coast and could form into hurricanes.  In fact, the hurricane center in Miami has now estimated that one of the waves has a 60% chance of forming into some type of tropical system.  These types of forecasts will keep some speculative buying interest alive in the futures market.  The season will start to gradually wind down over the next couple of months as the Sun moves back south, but there is still plenty of time to get a storm going that could damage crops.

    Unfortunately for the buyers, a tropical system rarely does lasting damage.  The one exception was several years ago when the crop size was cut in half due to the strong hurricane.  Most bring winds and rains and the quality of the juice in the oranges might get hurt.  Less acid in the orange means using more oranges to make the juice.  The high winds mean that oranges can fall off the tree.  But that just adds to the supply of FCOJ in the end as the producers will quickly gather the fallen oranges and sell them to FCOJ processors as rapidly as possible.  Before that the prices can rally but after the storm the prices can spike higher and then fail.

    The season for hurricanes will end by late November and then we will look forward to the freeze season for Florida.  The higher price will give producers better selling chances but the market will also need to look for buyers both here and in the international market.  The lack of buyers anywhere has really hurt the price.  Florida Citrus Mutual showed that inventories are 25% higher than a year ago at this time.  Production is better but the demand is not and the mission of the market will soon be to find buyers for the juice.

     

    By Caroline Calder Features
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