Grapefruit oil is processed from the peel of the fruit and can come in a number of types determined by its colour. Red, white and pink varieties are available which are usually grouped as ‘white’ or ‘coloured’.
Grapefruit is an excellent source of vitamin C and other nutrients and phytochemicals and is often associated with healthy living and diets.
As a flavour it is highly acidic and contains grapefruit mercaptan (a sulphur terpene) giving both a sweet, tarty and sometime bitter taste, somewhat different to most other citrus fruits.
The citrus industry in Florida has been struggling with the serious disease Huanglongbing (HLB) or citrus greening. This bacterial disease causes green, misshapen and bitter-tasting fruit, and eventually kills the citrus tree.
Citrus greening disease (or Huanglongbing, abbreviated as HLB) is a disease common to citrus plants transmitted by insects. Historically it is more commonly found in China and Africa but was first discovered in Florida in 1998 in orange. It is a bacterium that can grow quicker in hot temperatures and will ultimately kill the plant/tree where the fruit is growing. In the mean time the plant/tree will bear multiple seasons of small fruits, many unsuitable for processing. There is no cure for greening so the disease is hard to control once a region is infected.
The table shows how HLB has damaged fruit output, which has in turn restricted the volumes available for processing, increasing prices in its path.
|Type / Season||2011/12||2012/13||2013/14||2014/15*|
|Coloured (1,000 boxes)||13,500||13,100||11,500||11,000|
|White (1,000 boxes)||5,350||5,250||4,150||4,000|
*2014/15 Forecasts as at April 2015
The Florida grapefruit industry had been teetering but has gradually found its feet once again thanks to increased demand for a healthy option. The revival augurs well for the hitherto struggling grapefruit sector. The USDA report predicts a healthy crop figure of 5.90 million boxes of all Florida grapefruit. This is a marked climb of 0.5 million boxes from the December forecast, and if realised will be an impressive 20% increase from last season’s crop. What is encouraging is that the fruit size of both red and white grapefruit is above average at harvest, but projected damage due to droppage is also above average. Of this total crop figure, red grapefruit is projected to reach 4.50 million boxes, while the white variety escalates to touch 0.9 million boxes. California is projected to contribute 4.1 million boxes with Texas bringing in 6.2 million boxes. The states together bring up the total USA grapefruit crop to 15.7 million boxes. Supplies are adequate, and so there will be a cascading positive effect on consumption and demand. Exports are set to be higher with volumes of fruit apportioned for processing also increased. Grapefruit processing in 2019/20 is estimated at 6.85 million boxes, an 11% increase on the previous year, but substantially below levels of five years ago.
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