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Today is October 4 and you’re reading the first edition of a new monthly newsletter from the Florida Department of Citrus.

We know you get a lot of emails. That’s why we’re keeping it short.

In the next 5 minutes (give or take a few seconds), we’ll share highlights from the Department, Commission and industry as well as deliver context on what it means for Florida Citrus.

Got any topics you want to see tackled in future editions? Send us an email at news@citrus.myflorida.com.

Today’s newsletter takes about 5 minutes and 12 seconds to read.

1 | Consumers Continue to Seek Out OJ

In the 4-week period ending Sept. 11, retail sales of NFC OJ, where the majority of Florida Oranges are used, were 20% higher than they were for the same period in 2019.

The trend: Not only are consumers purchasing 100% orange juice at levels similar to 2016, but they are coming close to August 2020 levels when sales soared at the onset of the pandemic.

Why is this happening? It’s likely a combination of factors. Consumer spending is on the rise, hitting rates not seen since the economy began to re-open last summer. The ongoing pandemic also has consumers continuing to seek out foods and beverages with health benefits. In fact, the percentage of consumers (41%) who cite health and nutritional benefits of OJ as a major reason to purchase orange juice is the highest it has been since 2017, according to the UF/FDOC OJ Consumer Tracker.  

The next Nielsen Retail Sales report is due out Oct. 22, 2021.

2 | FDOC Promotions Show Strong Returns

An annual study by Dr. Lisa House, director of the Florida Agricultural Market Research Center at the University of Florida, gives the latest glimpse of the impact of the FDOC’s generic marketing programs on the demand for OJ.

The takeaway: For every dollar spent on generic promotions, between $9.28 and $9.67 is returned to the Florida grower in added revenue at the grower delivered-in price level.

Why is that important? FDOC marketing programs are designed to increase preference for Florida Orange Juice while highlighting the health and nutritional benefits a glass of OJ provides. Consumers who are aware of these promotions are more likely to see orange juice as a healthy beverage option and purchase OJ more frequently. With the majority of the Florida Orange crop destined for retail channels, increased demand helps support Florida growers. 

How much more? Dr. House shared that demand for orange juice would have declined by 10% without the awareness of FDOC promotional activities. That’s about 15 million boxes of Florida processed oranges.

See the full presentation, given at the Sept. 22 Florida Citrus Commission meeting, here.


Want More? FCC Chairman Steve Johnson shared his perspective in last week’s column. 

3 | Halloween Who?

Forget Halloween, the holiday in the headlines now is Christmas.

From the Today Show to RetailWire, the pressure is building to start holiday shopping before fall has settled in. With supply chain issues expected to impact inventory, prices, and shipping times, there’s a real risk that holiday gifts may not make it in time otherwise.

Why is this happening? There are numerous issues at play in the buildup of supply chain woes, including the pandemic. A surge in consumer purchasing, labor shortages, and product shortages have stretched supply chains. So much so, that, in some cases, retailers are taking matters into their own hands and renting container ships to transport goods.

What does this mean for OJ? With the price of many items at the grocery store climbing, some shoppers may be taking a second look at what items stay on their list. Keeping OJ top of mind throughout the shopping experience and educating consumers on the health benefits every carton provides will be vital to making sure consumers are willing to pay to keep OJ in their carts.

Keep an eye out for FDOC programs throughout the fall and winter months encouraging consumers to keep wellness in mind as they navigate the change in seasons. With “The Original Wellness Drink” campaign in full force, the FDOC will remind consumers that Florida Orange Juice is the easy, uncomplicated option to support the immune system and overall health.

A combo of eCommerce, social media, influencer partnerships, and earned media will drive sales among those who may not have purchased orange juice lately and remind all shoppers of the health benefits OJ provides.

Follow the progress of the domestic OJ marketing program as we aim to drive more than $30 million in attributed sales of Florida Orange Juice this season. Updated twice a month, the dashboard is available here.

Florida Department of Citrus | FloridaCitrus.org

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