Why Are Grapefruit So Expensive? (Things You Should Know)

In this article, you will find information on why are grapefruit so expensive in recent years and how you can save money on grapefruits.

First, let’s understand the history behind grapefruit and then discuss about its price.

Expensive grapefruit on a board

The history behind the expensive cost of grapefruit 

Back in 1976, few fruits grabbed more and more attention of people because of the height of their love in America. An average person of the United States ate up to 25 pounds of grapefruit per year.

However, since then, the consumption of grapefruit has increased by 70 percent. On the other side, a total of 80 percent has tumbled, which includes processed grapefruits for use for juices.

Few things cause the demise of grapefruits, as some research shows that citrus fruits can intensify the impacts of various medications. They indicate that a combination of some medications and grapefruits will be lethal. 

And, mostly, the eaters of grapefruits are elder beings who are more prone to those medications. This thing reduces the overall consumption of grapefruits up to a large extent and affected the production of grapefruits in the United States.

However, in recent years, the demand has increased gradually which contributed to the increase in price.

Let’s discuss that.

The effect of supply and demand on the grapefruit cost

The relative demand and supply of any product influence the product’s price in the market, and grapefruits are no exception to this rule.

In the recent decade, grapefruit production at the global level has been increasing slowly. It reached a historical record of about 6.8 million metric tons (MT) in 2018 and 2019. This shows a change from the extreme decreases between the years 2003 and 2006. 

Such changes in trends are directly related to the fluctuating dynamics of the entire industry. A few years back, the production of grapefruits in the United States fell considerably.

The United States was once a vibrant producer of grapefruit with an avid population of grapefruit lovers.

But, unfortunately, devastating hurricanes and the spread of HLB (Huanglongbing, or citrus greening) caused a severe decline in grapefruit production in the US.

In the current era, trees are dying off, and the amount of land for grapefruit trees is merely a quarter of what it used to be in the last decade of the 20th century.  

This unfortunate occurrence has led to a decline in the production of grapefruit. Grapefruit is falling from trees too early before ripening and is too small to meet the standard size in the United States.

According to reports from the United States Department of Agriculture, in the current century, grapefruit production is down more than 60 percent.

After this, China came in to compensate for this decline. And China successfully expanded the production of grapefruits at the starting of the year 2007.

So, the considerable reduction in grapefruit production in the USA has limited the supply of the fruit concerning the demand. So, this imbalance between supply and demand has ultimately resulted in the price increment of the grapefruit. 

The increment in the price of grapefruit in recent years

The retail price of grapefruit has increased more than two times in comparison with two decades ago, according to a reliable study published on Statistica.

This price increase is because of various factors. Decrease in crop production, lower supplies by the United States, an increase in cost associated with plant disease management, or tree maintenance are among the most common and essential factors behind all this.

Fresh grapefruits are twice expensive as those in previous years because of these factors.

The cost of grapefruit per pound, per kilogram, or an ounce

In the year 2019, in the United States, the retail price of grapefruits remained at about 1.25 United States dollars per pound. Over a few decades, the cost of the sub-tropical citrus fruits has varied noticeably.

If we talk about the nineties, one pound generally costs about 50 to 60 cents. A significant price increase was noticed in 2004 when the same quantity cost about one United States dollar.

Is it worth paying for an expensive grapefruit?

Well, it depends on the quality of the fruit being sold. There is no issue with buying from the grocery stores if they have reasonably priced good quality fruit.

However, for buying grapefruit, consider looking for fruit with thin skin and smooth texture. Or the fruit that is either round or a bit flattened at its ends.

Just like the other citrus fruits, grapefruits should be shiny and firm. Moreover, they should also be heavy to carry for their size because this promises mainly to juice and flavor.

While purchasing, avoid rough-looking or coarse fruit that has protruding or puffy ends. These things indicate that the fruit is flavorless and dry.

If you are going to eat all the grapefruits within a week, you can leave them out on the counter. Otherwise, it would be best to refrigerate them for a long time storage.

The Current Price of Grapefruits versus Other Fruit 

The prices of fruits, like any other thing, vary widely from time to time. This difference is based on the quality and types of fruits.

However, the decisive factor in determining the price of fruit or any other product is its demand and supply ratio. If the demand for fruit is high and the supply is low, the price will take a boost, and vice versa.

Back in 1999, blackberries cost the most, 3.94 United States dollars per pound.

On the other side, apples 0.83, oranges 0. 74 and Watermelon, the least of 0.32 United States dollars per pound. At the same time, grapefruits cost 0.55 United States dollars per pound. 

In the case of canned fruits, blackberries cost 2.71, apples 0.77, oranges 1.25, and grapefruit 1.96 United States dollars per pound.

These figures indicate that the cost of grapefruit is significantly high than the other commonly eaten fruits. 

If you want to eat this marvelous citrus fruit, you get the privilege of buying it from multiple grocery stores and markets in the whole country.

Also, many online food retailers, including the giant; Amazon, sell the preserved and canned grapefruits to the citizens of the US and the world.

What is the Future of Grapefruit Production and Prices?

According to research from the Citrus Industry, the grapefruit industry is expected to grow by 4.7 percent by 2025.

This prediction reflects a 6 percent increase in grapefruit production annually for a period of 10 years. Another prescient study indicates that grapefruits are quickly approaching 4 percent of total world fruit production.

Grapefruits have a bright future in the coming decades. The demand for these juicy fruits will increase and drive up prices as well.

Strong demand in China and Brazil will be a positive influence on this industry. The predictions about grapefruit production encourage investors, as well as consumers.

How to save money on grapefruit?

The best way to save money on grapefruit is by buying it in season. The prices are always lower during the off-season. If you can get your hands on a good deal, buy a lot of grapefruits, and preserve them for later.

This way helps you to have some neat and clean fruit whenever you need it. Moreover, the preserved grapefruits are available all year round so that you can eat them whenever you like.

The preservation of grapefruits is very easy if you follow a few instructions carefully.

First, the skin of the grapefruit should be removed, and the segments of the fruit should be separated. The segments are then blanched in boiling water for few minutes.

You have to take care to leave sufficient time for blanching so that all the seeds are popped and can be removed from the segment.

Next, after removing all the seeds from each of the segments, you have to remove any remaining rinds on them. After that, you just slice them into slices like you would make potato chips.

After that, all you have to do is packing the slices in a jar with a mixture of water and sugar. The amount of this mixture depends on personal taste but use it what you think best.

The preservation of grapefruits can be done by adding vodka or gin along with the sugar and water mix. However, you should add a small portion only since it will help in preserving the fruit for more days.