Citrus innovations to mitigate unreliable supply

Citrus innovations to mitigate unreliable supply

The availability of citrus fruits has been affected by a number of factors, and supply has been low in some regions for over a year. Rising freight costs and higher energy prices mean that growing and transporting citrus fruits is becoming more challenging; and low yields due to weather events and unpredictable climate conditions, along with disease, have also caused the demand to outstrip supply. 

In particular, the orange shortage has caused friction for growers, food retail groups, and consumers – with orange juice a staple part of diets for a large population. A disease called Huanglongbing (HLB) or ‘citrus greening’ is fatal to oranges, and there’s no cure. It’s becoming increasingly prevalent, spread by a small insect called the Asian citrus psyllid, which is now widespread in Asia, the US, and South, Central, and North America.  

So innovators are working to mitigate the citrus supply challenge in novel ways – and embracing the power of collaboration. 

Novel citrus taste solutions ease the pressure for F&B

Chemical company Symrise, headquartered in Germany, is expanding its line of citrus taste solutions – using sustainable and novel taste ingredients to stabilise citrus flavour supply. 

As reported by Food Business Gulf, Symrise leverages distillation, extraction, and selective enrichment technologies, along with industrial and university partnerships and sensory-guided taste analysis, to develop ingredients that enable new and sustainable solutions for citrus taste. 

These technologies are used to create products with authentic aroma profiles – and different taste solutions can be developed for specific recipes and applications, across beverages, confectionery, dairy, baked goods, and more. This means that the F&B industry can access a wider palette of citrus tastes, cushioning against shortages in citrus crops and allowing for better price stability. 

Richard Hartfall (Citrus Platform Director at Symrise) told Food Business Gulf, “In a world where the price and availability of traditional citrus continue to fluctuate, Symrise’s Citrus Taste Solutions offer a practical, sustainable, and economically sound alternative.”

Citrus taste solutions like this don’t change the citrus crop shortage – but they do ease the pressure for the F&B industry, offering alternatives to naturally occurring citrus flavour for use in recipes and products that don’t require real fruit. 

A selection of citrus fruits

But what about the real fruit? 

Work is also being done to address low yields and support more efficient crop growth. Some companies are engaging in sustainable sourcing partnerships and committing to fair payments to support citrus farmers and ensure they can keep growing fruit. Long-term partnerships are particularly important for citrus growers, because citrus trees require several years of growth before they can reach their full harvest potential. 

And while the shortage has had a significant impact on fruit and citrus product prices, companies are aware that high prices could make the problem worse – leading to a decline in consumer demand which will hit the industry for a longer period of time. For this reason, retailers are doing what they can to maintain reasonable prices – balancing any increases with the current level of consumer demand. 

To combat the problem of citrus greening, the industry is being proactive about the research and development of remedial and preventative solutions to the disease. In 2017 for example, crop science firm Bayer started a research partnership led by the Florida-based non-profit Citrus Research and Development Foundation (CRDF). The collab brings together scientists from the private sector and from academia, funded by a USD $10 million grant from the US Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA-NIFA). 

On top of all this, firms are working to geographically diversify their citrus sourcing operations, and adapting product ranges in line with shortages.

Agility and flexibility are key to maintaining a thriving citrus sector in the face of crop shortages – with food tech and sustainability at the heart of future solutions. 

Register now to attend InFlavour 2024 happening from October 1-3 at Riyadh Front Exhibition and Conference Center (RFECC).

Share on


Take your seat at the InFlavour table, a government-backed and world-leading B2B food event by Tahaluf.

E-mail address Submit
Sign up

Want to keep up to date with all our latest news and information? Enter your name below to be added to our mailing list.

E-mail address Submit