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By Steve Johnson, Chairman of the Florida Citrus Commission

It may not officially be summer yet, but the forecast here in Florida Citrus Country tells a different story.  Gone are our cool mornings, replaced with afternoon showers and temperatures hovering in the 80s and 90s for the foreseeable future. While much of the rest of the country is still warming up, this early peek at the heat serves as a good reminder that Florida Orange Juice shouldn’t only be reserved for the breakfast table.

In fact, a glass of orange juice is a great hydration option in addition to water since it naturally contains a high percentage of water – almost 90 percent. And, just like its sports drink counterparts, it provides electrolytes such as potassium, which helps us keep our fluid levels balanced. Additionally, orange juice has no added sugar and provides vitamins and minerals our bodies need. 

Last spring, the Department of Citrus published a research study showing that 100% orange juice is just as good as sports drinks and water for recovery after exercise. The Department has been using these findings to educate consumers on the benefits of hydrating with Florida Orange Juice through media interviews with our registered dietitian partners and on social media. These efforts are increased during the hot summer months when families may be looking for other natural beverage options to supplement water intake at the soccer and baseball fields.

In a recent article published in Eat This, Not That!, registered dietitian and FDOC partner Lauren Manaker said hydrating with orange juice can help keep our kidneys healthy and may reduce the risk of developing kidney stones. Registered dietitian and FDOC partner Mia Syn suggested viewers of a recent broadcast news segment turn to a glass of orange juice to replenish electrolytes lost through sweat.

On social media this month, the Department will highlight OJ’s role in hydration through several posts, including one that suggests adding frozen Florida Orange Juice cubes to water as a fun way to encourage kids to stay hydrated without added sugar.

As always, these messages are worked into the overall FDOC campaign to drive sales of Florida Orange Juice. To date, the e-commerce program has driven $20 million in attributed sales at a Return On Ad Spend (ROAS) of $9.62 and reached more than 394 million impressions. This equates to 5 million units of 100% orange juice sold this fiscal year – just through the e-commerce program.

Last week, the Department shared the most recent Nielsen retail sales report, and retail OJ sales remain strong when compared to pre-covid 2019 sales data. For the 4-week period ending April 24, 2021, average year-over-year sales of total OJ are up by 5 percent compared to 2019 values with 31.85 million equivalent gallons. This is largely driven by NFC OJ sales.

The Florida Citrus Commission will hold its next meeting on Wednesday, May 26 at 9 a.m. in Bartow. The agenda will include a 2021-22 budget presentation as well as a domestic marketing plan presentation for the coming year.

Originally published in the Florida Citrus Mutual Triangle