Ingredients companies may look to more consistent sources of citrus fruit outside of the US to compensate for Mother Nature, according to Blake Anderson, president of Symrise's North America flavor division.
Florida used to be the "epicenter for citrus fruit" but it is prone to harsh weather conditions which can seriously damage crops, Anderson said.
Now attention is focused on Brazil, where Symrise recently opened its Global Citrus Center right next to a major citrus growing area. The move secured ease of supply of an important raw material and brought its global expertise on research, sensory effects and technology under one roof.
Anderson told FoodNavigator-USA.com: "Brazil is fast becoming the citrus centre of the world in terms of supply."
He said that is was supplementing Florida which still supplies a lot of countries but it was subject to natural forces such as hurricanes and frost.
Anderson added: "They are concerns that don't really impact Brazil.
"Consistency in supply is a good thing. I think companies now are looking at diversifying to make sure there are covered in case there is a problem."
The US Department of Agriculture has forecast that this season's Florida orange crop will be 169.7 million boxes weighing 90 pounds. This is an increase of more than 30 percent from the previous season and it will be the largest crop in four years following hurricanes and diseases, among other factors.
Andrew Blum, Symrise director of citrus business development, flavor and nutrition division, North America, said citrus flavors represent more than 55 percent of the global beverage flavor market. Meanwhile beverage accounts for about 40 per cent of the whole flavor business.
He said typical flavor houses have their citrus centers in Florida, but 50 percent of the worlds oranges are in Brazil and 50 per cent of lemons are in Argentina.
An enduring market
Citrus fruits maintain popularity in the increasing wellbeing trend as they are high in antioxidants, having various health benefits. For example, researchers have found they may have a role to play in protection against neurodegenerative diseases.
Last month FoodNavigator reported that the German company Wild was broadening its offering of citrus flavors with the addition of three exotic fruits - dalandan, kalmansi and yuzu - to its range.
Wild's existing citrus operations revolve around oranges and lemons cultivated and processed at its facility in Valencia, Spain. It also sources raw materials from the world citrus hubs of Brazil and Florida in order to guarantee consistent supply should harvests fluctuate.
Other companies are identifying the market for fresh citrus tasting foods as enduring and this year Takasago opened a new citrus center in Florida in a bid to increase product quality and innovation.
It said its partnership with Peace River Citrus Products, one of the leading citrus growers in Florida, reinforces Takasago's commitment to the citrus sector.
The aim of the center is to enhance capabilities for citrus flavor production for use in sectors such as beverages and confectionery. The citrus materials will also be used for R&D purposes, to allow for new advances in flavor development.
Like the Symrise center, it brings the company even closer to the source of its raw materials, ensuring traceability from farm to fork. It also considers this a good way to strengthen its relationship with the growers which is a way of securing steady supplies of the fruits.
In March, Doehler said it had significantly stepped up its capacity for developing citrus-based ingredients and oils with the opening of its new development and production centre at Limeira, Brazil.