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FRESH FLORIDA CITRUS PRICES EXPECTED TO FALL; GOOD VALUE FOR CONSUMERS

 LAKELAND, Fla., Feb. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- Consumers can expect to see the price of Florida oranges, grapefruit and specialty varieties decline even further during the next two to three months, according to the Florida Department of Citrus (FDOC).
 Based on today's reforecast by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) of a larger Florida citrus crop and historical pricing trends, Dr. Bob Behr, director of economic research for the FDOC, notes that retail prices for fresh Florida oranges should drop 20-25 percent below last season, fresh Florida grapefruit by 15-20 percent, and specialty varieties (including tangerines, tangelos and temples) by an average of 15 percent. These prices are at the lowest levels since the mid-1980s and, pound-for-pound, are the best value in the produce aisle.
 "The lower prices are a direct result of ample supplies for consumers," Behr notes. "The climate in Florida this season has been ideal for growing high-quality citrus; in fact, this is our second- largest orange crop in history, and we are shipping a record amount of grapefruit."
 The revised USDA estimate calls for Florida orange production to reach 188 million boxes for the current season -- two million boxes more than the USDA's initial forecast in October. Florida grapefruit estimates remained unchanged at 54 million boxes; production of tangerines is expected to reach 2.7 million boxes, an increase of 100,000 boxes over initial estimates.
 Behr adds that prices for Florida orange juice are expected to average 15 percent less than last season. Like fresh citrus, the lower Florida orange juice prices are a result of a large, high-quality crop.
 Florida citrus products, including fresh fruit and juices, can help more than the pocketbook; they are excellent sources of vitamin C and provide other essential nutrients. In fact, a number of recent studies suggest that vitamin C and other antioxidants in citrus may play a role in the prevention of cancer, heart disease, and other illnesses. "Florida citrus fruit and juices are highly nutritious, and an excellent value for consumers," Behr concludes.
 -0- 2/10/93
 /CONTACT: Mary McPartland of Hill and Knowlton, 212-697-5600, ext. 3478, for Florida Department of Citrus/


CO: Florida Department of Citrus ST: Florida IN: FOD SU:

GK -- NY088 -- 5307 02/10/93 15:57 EST
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Date:Feb 10, 1993
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