Orange Juicing Economics

I love freshly squeezed orange juice. In fact, I never drink store bought orange juice; it tastes no more real to me than Fanta Orange. Ever since I received the badboy pictured below as a gift, I’ve been capitalising on cheap oranges every winter to get my fix.

The Juicer

Business End of the Juicer

But every winter I see the same thing at Pick ‘n Pay, and every year it bothers me. They have juicing oranges (JO) that are more expensive than “regular” Navel oranges (NO). The juicing oranges sell at R5 for a 2kg bag, or, advertised in big red letters, at R10 for two bags. Go figure. The Navel oranges sell at R12.50 for a 6kg bag. That’s R2.50/kg for the JO, R2.08/kg for the NO.

The Oranges

The smaller ones are the juicing oranges, the larger ones are Navels.

Year after year this conundrum has taunted me. Finally it’s come to a head, and I decided to make a scientific study. I would buy both types of oranges, and then compare the juice yields per kg to get to a juice per Rand figure. And now, I share the results with you.

I weighed out four oranges of each type, juiced them, and weighed the resulting juice. I’m assuming both types of oranges produce juice of about the same density, but I’m OK with that!

The four JO’s weighed 606g, and produced 230g of juice, yielding 380g of juice per kg. The four NO’s weighed 980g and produced 339g of juice, yielding 346g of juice per kg. Dividing the rand per kg by the juice per kg, we get the price per kg (should be rougly a litre) of
juice. The JO’s juice costs R6.59 per kg, while the NO’s juice costs R6.02 per kg.

The Product

Hmm, fresh orange juice. The green of the plastic cup makes the juice colour look a bit odd. Tastes good though!

So there you have it. Juicing oranges is a marketing ripoff. Next time you are tempted by those expensive looking juicing oranges, don’t be. They aren’t any better. The juice doesn’t even taste better as far as I can tell…

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