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  Frozen Concentrated Orange Juice (FCOJ) Commodity Market Bookmark and Share

  ICE FCOJ-A Futures

  USDA Foreign Agricultural Service - GAIN Report: Brazil Citrus Annual 2011 (December 7, 2011)

  USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service - Citrus Production Forecast Page

Prices for FCOJ have been moving up since the Third Quarter 2011 because the USDA survey of FCOJ warehouse storage totaled approximately 500 million pounds in November 2011 compared to 800 million pounds for the same period in 2010. Then, in January 2012, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration indicated that oranges imported from Brazil contained trace amounts of the fungicide carbendazim, which is not currently approved for use on citrus in the United States. Carbendazim is approved within the European Union on some agricultural commodities but not oranges. The FDA indicated that it would commence a testing program and deny entry to any shipments that tested positive for carbendazim. On January 10, 2012, the ICE FCOJ-A March 2012 futures contract (most actively traded) reached a settlement price of $2.1275 per pound (a 34 year high).

In Florida, Inland Hard Freeze Warnings (below 28° F / -2° C more than 8 hours) can severely affect orange trees. The 2009 / 2010 orange crop was 133.6 million boxes, the lowest harvest in the past 20 years due to a January 2010 freeze.

Orange Crop Cultivation and Production

The orange tree is native to Asia. On average, a tree will begin to bear fruit after 3 years of growth and will continue to bear fruit up until approximately 20 years of age. The various citrus varieties have a development cycle that ranges from 6 to 16 months between the blooming (in general in spring) and fruit maturation depending upon the prevailing weather conditions during growth and the specific characteristics of the variety.

Orange (Citrus sinensis) varieties include:
  • Blood Orange
  • Easy Gold
  • Everhard
  • Folha Murcha
  • Gardner Midsweet
  • Hamlin
  • Homosassa
  • Itaborai
  • Jaffa
  • Lue Gim Gong
  • Marrs
  • Natal
  • Navel
  • Olinda
  • Parson Brown
  • Pêra Rio
  • Pineapple
  • Pope Summer
  • Ruby (or Rubi)
  • Seedling Jaffa
  • Sunstar Ambersweet
  • Valencia
  • Westin

  •     Click on image to view larger photo; Photo source: Rossjl

    In the United States, the two major orange varieties under cultivation are the Navel and the Valencia. In Brazil, the 4 major orange varieties of orange used for processing orange juice are the Hamlin, Pera Rio, Natal and Valencia.

    Production is, of course, dependent upon the maturity and health of the tree(s) in the grove. Trees can sometimes be stressed from large crops in the past most recent years.

    Citrus fruit will not ripen off the tree, thus producers must monitor the grove(s) and harvest the fruit at the right moment depending on the variety of orange. "Early" and "Mid-Season" orange varieties mature from October through February in the United States, which is why harvests can be wiped out if mature fruit is on the tree and a cold front moves into the Florida orange growing region and the crop is exposed to a sustained hard frost.

    A healthy orange tree can yield approximately 2.0 to 2.2 boxes (1.6 bushels wooden box, which will hold approximately 90 pounds of oranges). When a grove is harvested in the United States, the boxes are then combined into a Field Box / Tub or 10 boxes combined (900 pounds of oranges or 16 bushels). In the United States, most of the orange harvest is still done by hand. When he Tubs / Field Boxes are finally assembled, they are emptied into a large tractor-trailer truck, which can acommodate approximately 45,000 pounds, to be shipped to a processor.

    The harvested oranges that are not used as a fresh fruit product are delivered to a processing plant where it is first washed and then manually graded to produce either juice (not from concentrate) or into frozen concentrated orange juice. The specific shipment is then evaluated in terms of pounds of orange solids per box, not in terms of the weight of the box/harvested oranges, as it is the level of the internal quality of the orange that will determine the amount of juice produced. The greater the level of orange solids (quality) of the fruit the higher the amount of 6 ounce FCOJ cans will be produced. The standard 90 pound harvest box (1 and 3/5 bushel) will produce 30 to 40, six-ounce cans depending on the pounds of solids per box.

    Orange Producing Nations


    Brazil is the largest orange producing nation in the world, and production is located primarily in the state of São Paulo, which accounts for approximately 80% of Brazil's production and 53% of total global FCOJ production (in the region of Campinas, São Carlos, São José do Rio Preto and Barretos), and the western part of the sate of Minas Gerais.

    The Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), U.S. Department of Agriculture, estimates that the production in Brazil during the 2008 / 2009 season was approximately 16.6 million metric tons.

    European Union

    The European Union is the third largest producer of oranges in the world. The Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), U.S. Department of Agriculture, estimates that the production within the European Union during the 2008 / 2009 season was approximately 6.16 million metric tons.

    People's Republic of China

    The People's Republic of China is the fourth largest producer of oranges in the world. The Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), U.S. Department of Agriculture, estimates that the production within the People's Republic of China during the 2008 / 2009 season was approximately 6.0 million metric tons.

    United States

    The second largest producer is the United States (Florida, California, Texas and Arizona), and China, Costa Rica, Mexico and then the Mediterranean region. Brazil is also the largest processor of orange-related products, again followed by the United States. The season for new growth oranges in Florida (the state in the U.S. with the greatest volume of production) is October through June. Most of Florida's production is utilized for juice products while most California's production is fresh fruit for direct human consumption.

    On December 10, 2010, the National Agricultural Statistics Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, forecasted that the 2010-2011 Florida all orange forecast released by the USDA Agricultural Statistics Board is 143.0 million boxes, down 2.0% from October 2010 but 7.0% more than last season’s production. The total is comprised of 68.0 million boxes of non-Valencia oranges (early, midseason, Navel, and Temple varieties) and 75.0 million boxes of Valencia oranges. The Navel orange forecast remains 2.8 million boxes, 4.0% of the non-Valencia total. The projection for frozen concentrated orange juice is continued at 1.61 gallons per box of 42° Brix concentrate for all oranges. Last season’s final yield for all oranges was 1.559667 gallons per box, as reported by the Florida Department of Citrus. The record all orange yield is 1.672737 gallons per box set in 2007 / 2008.

    Orange Consuming Nations

    The United States is the largest orange juice consuming nation / market in the world. Brazil exports most of its crop to the United States.

    Frozen Concentrated Orange Juice (FCOJ)

    Frozen Concentrated Orange Juice (FCOJ) is the result of processing the harvested oranges (usually removing the pulp, which may be added back after the concentrate is produced) and squeezing out the fresh juice, pasteuring the the juice, concentrating the juice (removing approximately 85% of the water) and then freezing the concentrated juice. The purchaser than reconstitutes the frozen concentrate by adding back the water (which thaws the frozen concentrate).

    The juice of the orange is always evaluated in terms of BRIX, which is the measurement of the percentage of the weight of soluble solids (sugars and acids) in a sample of juice compared to the weight of the whole sample (specific gravity); and the ratio of BRIX to the acidity (citric acid) of the juice (titration method). Retail and institutional FCOJ is produced with a range of 41.8 degrees and 47.0 degrees BRIX (compared to a mature orange that has a 8.5 to 14.5 BRIX).

    FCOJ is stored and shipped in 55 gallons steel drums with an interior poly liner (approximately 52.5 to 53.5 gallons / drum) or in bulk by food grade sanitary steel truck trailers / tanks or specialized maritime tankers that specifically ship frozen concentrate and not from concentrate orange juice.

    In addition to BRIX, the orange fruit is also analyzed with regard to acid, ratio, flavor, oil, defects, color, pesticide residue and microbiological aspects.

    Orange / Frozen Concentrated Orange Juice Pricing

    The price for orange juice is effected by:
  • The size of the pending crop harvest
  • The size of the fruit harvested (smaller fruit means it takes more to fill up a box)
  • Weather conditions (frost, drought, hurricanes and dry weather)
  • Crop health (citrus canker; Citrus Variegated Chlorosis / CVC; Sudden Death Disease; Fatal Greening Disease)
  • Production costs
  • Appreciation / depreciation of the local currency
  • Dietary trends
  • Only frozen concentrated orange juice has a futures and options market: there is no futures market for squeezed, chilled juice. In the United States, the designated market is the ICE Futures U.S. (former NY Board of Trade / NYBOT), and The FCOJ-A futures contract is the world benchmark contract for the frozen concentrated orange juice market.

  • Product for delivery is allowable from either the U.S. or Brazil (Costa Rica and Mexico commencing with the July 2009 contract expiration)
  • Grading of product for the contract specifications is performed by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
  • Electronic trading hours in New York are from 7:00am to 3:15pm (15:15)
  • Contract size is 15,000 pounds of orange juice solids
  • The contract grade standard is US Grade A with a Brix value of not less than 62.5 degrees.

  • By-Products from Processed Oranges

    Frozen Concentrated Orange Juice (FCOJ) is the primary product produced from harvested oranges, however there are other consumer and industrial-related byproducts made from oranges.
  • Essential Oils / Cold Press Oils: volatile oils removed from citrus fruit peel and utilized by the food and pharmaceutical industries such as drink flavorings or for cosmetic and perfume aromas.
  • D'limonene is a clear oil obtained during cold press or juice extraction from the concentration of the lime treated citrus peel liquor and is utilized in the production of industrial solvents, resins, dispersing agent for oils, pigments, paints, printing inks, and is also utilized in flavor and aromatic preparation.
  • Orange (Citrus) Terpene is a clear oil that is produced through the vacuum distillation of citrus essential oils and is used by the utilized by the food, beverage and fragrance industries.
  • Waterphase Essence is utilized by the food and beverage industry.
  • Oilphase Essence is utilized by the fragrance industry.
  • CPP (Citrus Pulp Pellet) are manufactured from the left over orange peels and interior of the fruit, which has 90% of the moisture removed, and is used as a filler in the the production cattle feed.

  • Orange / FCOJ Industry

    Frozen Concentrated Orange Juice Information Resources

    Abecitrus - Associação Brasileira dos Exportadores de Cítricos (Brazilian Association for Citrus Exporters)

    California Citrus Mutual

    California Citrus Research Board (CRB)

    California Department of Food and Agriculture

    Centro APTA Citros - Sylvio Moreira

    Citrus Administrative Committee

    Comité de Liaison de l’Agrumiculture Méditerranéenne (Liason Committee of Mediterranean Citrus)

    Florida Automated Weather Network

    Florida Citrus Mutual

    Florida Citrus Processors Association

    Florida Department of Citrus

    Fundecitrus (Citriculture Defense Fund; Brazil)   (Português / English)

    Gulf Citrus Growers Association

    Highlands County Growers Association

    Indian River Citrus League

    Southwest Florida Water Management District

    Texas Department of Agriculture

    University of Florida, Citrus Research and Education Center (CREC)


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