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 grapefruit sector is in disarray. Most of the crop has been damaged due to the sub-zero temperatures brought about by the winter storm Uri. March forecast for the total grapefruit production for the current season was projected at 13,800 million boxes but this number is expected to decrease because of the freeze in Texas which destroyed most of the crop. Florida’s grapefruit estimates put a figure of 4.6 million boxes, a 5% decline from last year’s figure. White grapefruit figures stand at 7,000 boxes, unchanged from the last forecast in January. Red grapefruit figures are poised at 3.9 million boxes. There continues to be a limited supply, especially of white grapefruit oil. White grapefruit trees are declining 10% per year as pink/red varieties are preferred by consumers. Prices continued to be based on nootkatone content and the typical 0.2% nootkatone material is difficult to find. Also, prices are based on the level of agricultural residues and there are new regulations in place for citrus oils.
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