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PepsiCo's Tropicana Jumps into Organic Juice Market

The world's largest orange juice company Tropicana Products, Inc. began selling its first organic orange juice at Whole Foods Markets last month.

The new product, sold in 64-ounce cartons, is also available in a variety called Orchard Medley, which is a blend of organic apple and pear juice.

Chicago-based Tropicana will start selling the product in select Florida supermarkets in May, company spokesman Pete Brace said, according to a report by the Palm Beach Post.

Tropicana, a division of PepsiCo, Inc., rolled out the first national orange juice to include omega-3s in January.

Matt McLean, founder and president of Uncle Matt's Organic in Clermont, Fla., the nation's second-largest organic orange juice brand after La Farge, Wis.-based Organic Valley, said Tropicana's entry into organic can only be a good thing, the Post said.

"It will give us a little bit more visibility, which will be good for the industry," said McLean. "Hopefully, they will spend money promoting the sector."

Wade Groetsch, president of Blue Lake Citrus LLC in Winter Haven, said his operation began producing organic orange juice under its Nobel Organics line in 2004.

He estimates Florida's organic orange juice production is about three million gallons worth near $18 million - a fraction of the $1 billion Florida citrus industry, according to the Post's report.

The overall U.S. market for organic beverages reached $1.3 billion in 2006, a 97 percent increase since 2001, according to research group Mintel International. Still, organic beverages account for just 2 percent of overall beverage sales, the report said.