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
Florida’s grapefruit production forecast for the 2019-2020 season decreased in May to 4.9 million boxes, but still above the 2018-2019 crop. The white grapefruit forecast was also lowered to 800,000 boxes, while the red grapefruit forecast was lowered 200,000 boxes to 4.1 million boxes. California’s grapefruit forecast increased from 4.1 to 4.3 million boxes, while Texas saw a decline from 6.2 to 5.8 million boxes. Therefore, the total USA grapefruit crop is expected to be 15.0 million boxes, a 2.0% decrease from the forecast in the previous report. However, this still represents a higher crop than the previous season resulting in more fruits for processing. Having said that, processors are still facing a challenge. While demand for grapefruit oil white is firm, demand for grapefruit oil red has decreased mainly due to re-listing or reformulations after years of short supply due to greening and hurricanes.
According to the citrus growing associations, COVID-19 has had a dramatic impact on the sector since mid-March as grapefruit and grapefruit juice movement and sales have come to a dramatic halt as schools, restaurants and retail outlets have either closed or severely limited entrance to stores, and buyers are now cancelling orders. Over the past decade the trend in grapefruit juice prices has been downward and if there is further downward pressure then some processors may find it unprofitable to continue processing. The grapefruit season should be complete shortly and better estimates of the actual losses incurred will become available.
USDA ESTIMATED GRAPEFRUIT PRODUCTION 2017/18 TO 2019/20 (‘000 BOXES)
Market prices USD Pink 25.00 / White 45.00 /kilo
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