Why Is Orange Juice So Expensive? (Top 10 Reasons)

Orange juice is a breakfast beverage second only to coffee and can be found in nearly every American household giving the impression that it’s a wallet-friendly product but the actual price might have surprised you.

If this was the case, you’re not alone. Many people ask why orange juice is so expensive so I dug into the topic and here’s what I uncovered!

Why Is Orange Juice So Expensive?

Orange juice is so expensive because the supply cannot keep up with the demands. Orange farmers are switching over to other low-maintenance crops due to the weather conditions and the expenses to sustain orange groves. Additionally, the cost of orange juice increases further because of the added ingredients as well as the manufacturing, transportation, and storage costs.

If you want to learn why orange juice is so expensive, read on to find out the reasons why its price keeps steadily increasing!

1. The Weather Is Affecting Orange Production.

Orange trees are climate-sensitive. Their conditions are greatly affected by even the minimal changes in the weather.

Oranges thrive in warm environments and become dormant in winter. They generally grow best in temperatures ranging from 55 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

Considering this, the top two suppliers of oranges who cater to the global demand have their own weather conditions to worry about.

Florida is where orange juice originated and is responsible for 10% of the world’s production. Unfortunately, bad weather and hurricanes can affect orange crops.

Brazil produces 30% of the world’s demand and is the leading supplier of orange and orange juice. The drought makes the soil dry, compromising the quality and quantity of produce.

2. The Amount Of Labor And Manpower Orange Juice Production Requires Is Huge.

Two to three oranges are required to fill a cup of orange juice. You may think that squeezing these extracts requires minimal labor, but only for big-named giants.

Common stores and restaurants do not possess juicing equipment capable of squeezing several oranges per minute so they resort to manual labor.

They need to pay an average labor cost of 60 cents per orange to fill up one order of OJ. The price of your refreshing beverage increases because of the human hands behind it.

3. Transport Costs and Restrictions Should Be Considered.

The transport of oranges from the farm to the processing facilities should also be taken into consideration.

Oranges do not last long after harvesting. It’s basically a race against time to bring them to a facility for extraction and the additional processes to turn them into the orange juice products available in supermarkets and grocery stores.

Exporting OJ also takes a long time and has many limitations. Since they have a limited shelf life depending on the variety, refrigerated vehicles should be used for shipping.

These transportation fees have a significant effect on the overall market price of orange juice.

4. The Manufacturing Process Is Quite Expensive.

There are a variety of processes needed in order to put your orange juice in a bottle, carton, or can.

Large machines that have different uses are a part of this manufacturing process. From extraction, sterilization, sanitation, to chilling, each of them requires maintenance and check-ups to function well.

Additional processes may also be involved as some variants require the OJ to have no pulp while some need to have extra pulp. Pasteurization also adds to the cost of OJ as this treatment is required to extend the shelf life of OJ products.

5. Preservatives And Other Ingredients Cost A Hefty Sum.

The freshly-squeezed orange juice you make in the comforts of your own home may contain only 100% orange extracts, but commercial OJ has additional ingredients.

Preservatives added may contribute to the cost. This is to ensure that the OJ will endure transportation and the duration it will sit on the aisles or freezers of supermarkets.

Some kinds of OJ also include extra vitamins and minerals in their formulation, like vitamin C and calcium, which further increases their costs.

6. Orange Juice Is Considered A Premium Beverage.

Why Is Orange Juice So Expensive?

Orange juice is now a luxury. Every food chain and diner charges more for a glass of orange juice than any other beverage they offer.

In certain restaurants, a small cup of OJ costs three to four dollars. This can increase if the orange juice is freshly-squeezed.

Some OJ is also healthier and contains more nutritious ingredients which require a greater cost to purchase.

Since orange juice is high-maintenance from its manufacturing process to its transportation, it will definitely cost more in diners and restaurants.

7. Citrus Greening Disease Exists.

Weather is not the only natural factor that can affect the price of orange juice. Oranges are highly sensitive trees that can suffer from a sickness called citrus greening disease.

It is also known as HuangLongBing (HLB) and destroys the citrus trees inside out. Infected plants will yield low-quality fruits in small numbers until they produce no more.

Additionally, HLB has no cure and cannot be controlled. It is the most destructive disease for orange trees.

When there are only a few worthy oranges capable of making orange juice, the prices can increase. Add to that the cost of maintaining a healthy environment for oranges and other considerations and it’s no surprise that orange juice is quite expensive.

8. Farmers Are Switching Over To Other Crops.

Orange groves are hard to maintain so farmers are switching to other affordable crops. Aside from the financial cost of keeping orange trees, they also require more attention than other farming options.

Instead of oranges, some farmers opt for pine or blueberries which don’t require too much labor and money to maintain.

As a result, orange juice is so expensive since there are fewer farmers willing to propagate them.

9. Storage And Rent Are Expensive.

Commercial stores have other expenses to worry about aside from the cost of their products and ingredients. They also carry the burden of storage to prevent perishables from going bad.

Orange juice is considered a perishable good and should be refrigerated at all times. The cost of storing it in lower temperatures contributes to its selling price.

Additionally, rent is another factor that increases the market price of orange juice. A store will need to weigh its options to consider the best environment for the goods.

10. Demand Is Greater Than The Supply.

Orange juice has become a staple at every breakfast table and demands for it have increased.

This is largely because orange juice contains vitamins and minerals that are known to boost health and strengthen the immune system.

There is a large demand for orange juice, so great, in fact, that the production and supply cannot completely keep up.

If you want to learn more about orange juice, you can see our related posts on where orange juice comes from, when orange juice was invented, and why orange juice is so tasty.


A glass of orange juice may cost more than any regular beverage option on the menu. This is because orange juice is subjected to a long, rigorous process before being served in an ice-filled glass.

Aside from transportation, the manufacturing, preservation, sterilization, sanitation, and chilling steps also contribute to its hefty price.

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