Breakfast Articles > Ask Mr Breakfast
Dear Mr Breakfast,
Why do we drink orange juice at breakfast?
Hi Elaine (of Portland, Maine),
The quick answer is "because we can". The U.S. is the second highest producer of oranges after Brazil, and the second largest exporter of oranges after Argentina. It's like America has a huge orange grove in our collective backyard. In countries like Japan who import most of their oranges, juice prices are quite high and it's not feasible to make a habit of drinking it each morning.
Another reason Americans drink more orange juice is because our orange juice is better than other countries. This isn't a matter "Go U.S.A.!" pride, it's just a fact. Orange juice is commonly exported in dried form and later reconstituted. If you don't grow your own oranges, your juice just isn't that great and it makes sense that you might question America's commitment to it.
So why the morning? Why don't we customarily drink orange juice at supper or as a nightcap before bed. That answer can be found in your nose (it always knows). The odor of citrus produces a cognitive effect on those exposed to it. It's energizing , invigorating and refreshing. In effect, the scent of oranges helps wake you up. Since about 90 percent of what people perceive as taste is produced by smell, orange juice becomes a sort of pep pill for the senses.
The scent of citrus has even been proven to improve or brighten your mood - although, admittedly, most of the experts who proved this were aromatherapy hippies who used easily-susceptible new-agers as their test subjects.
For more definitive proof, we turn to the February 27, 2005 issue of the Washington Post. The newspaper reported that mall shoppers were more likely to perceive a mall as "livelier, more pleasant and more stimulating" if the aroma of citrus was infused in the air.
In the November 7, 2007 issue of Newsday, writer Erica Marcus explored the history of breakfast and orange juice. According the Marcus, an overabundance of oranges in the early 20th century led California orange growers to coin the slogan "Drink An Orange".
This promotion along with advances in orange juice packaging and a newfound realization of the health benefits of oranges helped skyrocket the popularity of orange juice. By 1940, it had become the second most popular breakfast beverage after coffee.
Today, Americans drink about 5 million gallons of orange juice per year.
So to sum up, our orange juice is better and and we have more of it. Go U.S.A.!
This article was written by Mr Breakfast (aka Eddy Chavey).
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