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As prices continue to rise across the board for goods and services, many shoppers may find themselves buying not what they want but what they need. The key for us is making sure OJ remains on that list. For now, the data remains encouraging.

Released today, the most recent 4-week Nielsen retail sales report ending May 21 shows that sales of orange juice remain strong when compared to pre-pandemic levels. Sales of total OJ are up by 1.5 percent compared to 2019 with sales of NFC OJ up by 4.4 percent. While the orange juice category has not been immune to the pressures of inflation, the year-over-year price increase of OJ remains below the national average of increases in prices of food at home.

As we continue to plan for the year ahead, following this data closely and adapting our marketing strategy as needed will be vital. We know that consumers continue to seek out foods and beverages that provide health benefits and are aware that orange juice is well known for its vitamin C and immune support. Making sure that remains clear is of high importance.

This topic will receive more in-depth attention when we gather in a few weeks for the Florida Citrus Mutual annual conference in Bonita Springs. Partners from the Department’s marketing agency Edible have been exploring the potential impact of inflation and will present more during the grower education sessions on Thursday, June 16.

With only a few weeks left in the season, the Department’s marketing campaign continues to perform well. Since July, the eCommerce program has driven more than $65 million in attributed sales of Florida Orange Juice, far surpassing the original goal of $30 million. The new campaign, which continues the eCommerce program with some adaptations, will kick off July 1 ensuring no interruption for consumers.

Also on the agenda for Bonita is a Florida Citrus Commission meeting on Wednesday, June 15 at 9 a.m.

Since this will be the first time we are returning to Bonita Springs in a few years, I look forward to seeing many of you in person soon.

Steve Johnson is Chairman of the Florida Citrus Commission, which oversees the Florida Department of Citrus. He is the owner and general manager of Johnson Harvesting, Inc., based in Wauchula, FL.