28 May 2008
Every day over 500 million liters of orange juice are consumed around the world, half of which in Europe. The main producer is Brazil, with a market share of around 80%, closely followed by the USA (Florida). In order to reach Germany, the largest consumer of OJ in the EU, the juice has to travel a distance of 12,000 km.
After the oranges are picked, they are washed and pressed. Before being put into cartons, the juice is reduced to CFOJ (concentrated and frozen orange juice) through a process of evaporation of the water content. This reduction allows for easy transportation, as the concentrate only takes up 10% of the volume of fresh juice. Once offloaded in Europe, water is added back to the concentrate to recreate the look it had upon leaving the country of origin.
In the nineties, the Wuppertal Institute analyzed the production cycle of orange juice consumed by Germans. The results show that 100 liters of petrol are needed to obtain a ton of juice and that, bearing in mind the concentration and dilution process, one glass of OJ ‘contains’ 22 glasses of water.
Researchers concluded that in order to satisfy the thirst of the world’s population, if everyone were to consume as much as the Germans do (an average 21 liters a year per capita), we would need to cultivate a surface area of land equivalent to three Planet Earths.
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