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ORANGE JUICE PRICES EXPECTED TO FALL WITH REVISED USDA CROP ESTIMATE

 LAKELAND, Fla., Jan. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- Consumers can expect to see the price of orange juice decline further over the next two to three months based on Tuesday's revised 1992-93 USDA crop estimate for Florida citrus, according to the chief economist at the Florida Department of Citrus (FDOC).
 The revised 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. It would be the second largest orange crop in Florida's history, and the biggest since the 1979-80 season when orange production exceeded 206 million boxes.
 The increased production means more orange juice will be available to consumers. Florida orange juice production is now expected to total 1.108 billion gallons -- a 4.3 percent increase over original juice estimates.
 "We already have seen consumer prices on Florida orange juice decline as the market adjusts to increased supplies," said Dr. Robert Behr, FDOC Director of Economic Research. "Currently, consumer prices for Florida orange juice are at their lowest level since 1991. As the market continues to adjust, consumer prices should fall another 5 percent since our November projection to approximately 15 percent less than last year, which is the lowest level since 1987."
 Behr said the value of Florida orange juice extends beyond the pocketbook. He noted the health and nutritional benefits vitamin C-rich orange juice brings, as opposed to beverages such as coffee, the price of which is on the rise. A number of recent studies suggest that vitamin C may play a role in the prevention of diseases such as cancer.
 "Florida orange juice offers a terrific benefit package," he said. "It will be one of the best consumer values in 1993."
 The revised USDA forecast also means an increase in the availability of fresh Florida oranges. 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.
 -0- 1/13/93
 /CONTACT: Mary McPartland of Hill and Knowlton, Inc., 212-697-5600, ext. 3478, for FDOC/


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

GK -- NY057 -- 4514 01/13/93 15:08 EST
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Date:Jan 13, 1993
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