The Italian Consortium of Citrus-Processing Industries (Citrag) is opposing an increase – from 12 to 20 per cent – in the minimum amount of orange juice in orange drinks.
Citrag has sent a letter to the national government and the regional government in Sicily, asking that the provision be revised.
According to Citrag, the increase of the share of juice in Italy would cause 'increased costs that would help foreign companies and would push the multinationals based in Italy to scale back their presence'.
It also claims that the measure 'is likely to cause irreversible damage to the industry, considering that, even in non-EU countries, the minimum is 10 per cent'.
According to the industry, mostly concentrated in the Italian regions of Sicily and Calabria, instead of helping out the citrus industry, the rule would be a 'boomerang' that would put the supply chain in crisis.
In addition to issues related to foreign competition, which can bottle orange drinks outside the EU with only 3 per cent orange juice, there is also the question of the amount of oranges needed to increase the content from 12 to 20 per cent. This quantity is not available in Italy, as 98 per cent of Italian orange drinks are produced exclusively with Italian blonde-pulp oranges, as red-pulp oranges cannot be used for the production of soft drinks, but only for 100-per-cent drinkable juice.
The current production of 500 million litres of 'orange drinks' sold in Italy with 12 per cent orange juice requires 60 million litres of juice, or 150 million kilograms of oranges.
If the drinks produced in Italy were to contain 20 per cent orange juice, about 100 million litres of juice (equivalent to 250 million kilograms of oranges) would be required. This quantity does not exist in Italy, says Citrag, forcing the soft-drinks industry to buy orange juice abroad.
© 2015 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Branislav Pekic.