South Korea remained a top export market for Florida Citrus in the 2021-22 program year, despite the many challenges that the industry faced. Markets all around the world felt a squeeze on exports during the 2021-22 season due to inflation, which caused rising prices for citrus products as compared to 2020-21. In addition, the drop in U.S. utilized production further inflated the export prices of U.S. citrus products. The drought in California, the effects of a deep freeze in Texas in 2021, as well as citrus greening disease in Florida, contributed to a 19% drop in utilized production of U.S. citrus. However, the U.S. citrus industry’s strong reputation in South Korea will support increased exports in the future as production rebounds following the setbacks this season.
Overall, imports of orange juice into South Korea made gains again this year as demand stabilized in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. Total exports of orange juice to South Korea increased by 3.6% in volume and 7.6% in value to reach $39.6 million. Specifically, Florida exports in 2021-22 increased 6.9% by value and 7.7% in volume to total 726,503 SSE gallons valued at $6.17 million. Florida Orange Juice managed to take advantage of the gap in available orange juice from other U.S. producers.
Overall, the Florida Citrus industry continued to face challenges during the 2020-21 season in the South Korean market, including increased prices relative to other origins and supply-side difficulties. Rapid inflation reduced demand for less popular premium citrus like grapefruit as consumers became more price-conscious. However, the Florida Department of Citrus (FDOC) continues to monitor the market and anticipates a resurgence of growth as conditions improve.
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