Juice logistics may not be the most exciting thing in the world but without it, you wouldn’t have your everyday breakfast drink, or that glass of the orange variety at lunchtime. The system for getting the fruit from the tree into a carton and to your mouth is a complicated one that takes years of perfection and is one that is subject to high amount of quality control and many moving parts. It is one that many companies the world over relies on to ensure that what they send to their consumers is exactly what is expected and meets the needs of the consumer.
Juice logistics is something that is vitally important in the orange industry in America. In the US, over two and half billion litres are consumed each year. It is drink so popular that is a surprise that there is any left for the country to export. They vast majority of the drinks are produced in Florida, a state known for its sun and its oranges. Needless to say, the juice logistics industry provides millions in revenue for farmers and others associated with the industry. In one year, it is estimated that 30 billion oranges are harvested and squeezed. It’s fortunate that they have enough trees to meet demand, with orange trees outnumbering people 3 to 1 in the eastern state. These trees can produce 6 million tonnes of orange extract most of which end up on the breakfast table of families all over the world, proving the importance of an effective juice logistics model.
The climate of Florida helps the supply meet demand. While being known for its sun, Florida also experiences heavy rainfall, some of the heaviest in the whole of the US. There are also excellent soils that allow the trees to grow to their full potential. The mechanics of the juice logistics industry come into play at various stages for different oranges. There are several fruits that ripen at different times throughout the year meaning the stock never falls and everybody can have their favourite drink in the morning.
Before they are picked the oranges are tested on their water to sugar ratio. Using both a scientific test and a taste test, it is then decided whether they are ready to be cut. And now the exciting part, the part where months of waiting are over, and work is finally going to get done, whereby the importance of juice logistics comes to the fore.. Hours have been wasted in expectation for this to come and the time has finally arrived, when the oranges begin their journey. No longer are they merely hanging fruit, they are now part of the billions of other oranges ready to be squeezed into a carton.
In days gone by in the industrialised countries, fruit was picked by hand, however with the continued technological advancement, picking has become more sophisticated done in such a way to minimise time lost and maximise the revenue created. Of course, in many parts of the world, fruit is picked by hand, in Florida, however, this is not the case. Using a machine that costs one million dollars, the oranges are cut from where they hang and dropped into a collector that is linked to the truck. This machine lives up to it’s billing as one of the most efficient fruit picking devices on the market, picking over 2 tonnes of oranges every minute. This sort of statistic is something that greatly pleases those involved in the planning of juice logistics. Once collected, the oranges are piled into trucks ready to be moved to the factory.
In the juice logistics industry nothing can be done slowly, and everything must be done with one thing in mind, to move as much product as possible in the most cost-effective way possible. For this reason, when it comes to orange farms in Florida, 20,000 kilos of oranges are shipped out at time by lorries on their way to the processing plant. 200 of these lorries move oranges every day from farm to plant.
On arrival the oranges are washed out of the trucks and carried along 2 km of conveyers. They are then separated by size and put through a machine which squeezes and crushes them removing any pips and stems, highly advanced you’ll agree. This is when things get complicated in the production and juice logistics business. All over the world there exist two camps; in one, there are those who like bits while then there are others that like smooth OJ in the morning. In order to cater for both tastes, then pulp is added back into it. Once this is done, they are packaged and sent to market with 24 oranges making up a 1.8 litre carton. That in all of its glory is the story of the orange and juice logistics in Florida.