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When the Commission meets next week, we’ll have a few new – though well-known – faces joining us. Third-generation Florida Citrus grower John Smoak. Florida’s Natural Chief Operating Officer Chris Groom. And Alico President and General Manager Daniel Sutton.

Our new commissioners join us at a critical time. From research to sales, there’s momentum and a feeling of energy in the air.

Consumers continue to turn to 100% orange juice, purchasing nearly as much as they did during this time in 2020. According to the latest Nielsen Retail Sales Report, for the 4-week period ending Oct. 9, 2021, average year-over-year sales of total OJ are up by 9.6% compared to 2019. Sales of NFC OJ are up by 16.4% over 2019 and just 0.7% below 2020 values.

This momentum is also reflected in the results being achieved through the Department’s digital and eCommerce campaign promoting “The Original Wellness Drink.” Since July, the campaign has driven $10.9 million in attributed sales of Florida Orange Juice. You can follow the progress of the campaign via a dashboard posted weekly to FDOCGrower.com.

While we focus largely on the eCommerce numbers as a key measure of the success of this campaign, it couldn’t be done without the simultaneous awareness driving tactics that keep Florida Orange Juice top of mind for consumers, such as influencer partnerships.

For the past few weeks, the Department has partnered with four leading lifestyle and food influencers on social media to highlight the importance of including Florida Orange Juice in the back-to-school routine. From short videos sharing afterschool smoothie recipes to a stress-reducing mother-daughter spa date inspired by Florida OJ, the partnerships allow the Department to communicate health and nutrition messaging with a larger audience in an engaging and appealing way.

These partnerships have reached more than 125,000 consumers whom we’ll continue to engage through our digital and eCommerce campaign in the coming weeks with messages that further support the health benefits of Florida Orange Juice. As consumers continue to put health and wellness at the forefront of their decision-making, the campaign will ensure Florida Orange Juice is an essential part of that.

Join me in welcoming the new commissioners at the FCC meeting on Oct. 27 in Bartow at 9 a.m. The Commission is expected to set the FDOC’s final budget for the 2021-22 year as well as hear a presentation on the 2021-22 Florida Citrus Outlook from Dr. Marisa Zansler.

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.