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By Ned Hancock, Chairman of the Florida Citrus Commission

As Americans slowly emerge from “Safer at Home” orders and pursue a new version of normal, remnants of this time will stay with them.  Some activities will be changed forever, while others may fall by the wayside.

This season, the orange juice category experienced upward momentum for the first time in recent years. The investments made by our industry over decades of marketing gave consumers an ingrained sense of the nutritional value of 100% orange juice leading them to seek us out at a time when health and wellness has been top of mind. They stocked their pantries and began eating breakfast at home again.

As communities slowly open, there is already some indication of new behaviors taking hold as twenty-five percent of respondents in the Department’s OJ Consumer Tracker indicated they purchased more orange juice in May due to COVID-19 concerns.

The Department’s current marketing program, aimed at driving sales of 100% orange juice at retail through e-commerce channels, provides proof they are well positioned to deliver results in an evolving consumer landscape.

Since its launch in January, the e-commerce program has driven more than $4.63 million in attributed sales of 100% orange juice, reached 303 million impressions and provided a Return On Ad Spend (ROAS) of $4.28. Overall, the program has helped move more than 1 million units of 100% orange juice and supports continued consumers’ awareness of orange juice to drive repeat purchases.

I expect we will have more industry discussion around the theory that by restructuring generic promotion programs to focus on NFC at retail, we could effectively reduce the free rider effect and improve returns to Florida growers. Additionally, since NFC is largely made from Florida Oranges and is processed within our state, investments here provide a larger economic impact to the communities we live and work in.

At next week’s Florida Citrus Commission, we will consider several different budget scenarios for processed orange that include options to broaden audience reach through further, year-round e-commerce programs at retail, enhance many of our current digital tactics and make sure we have fresh content to keep consumer interest.

Join us next Wednesday, June 17 at 9 a.m. for the last Florida Citrus Commission of the season. The meeting will take place via video conference through Zoom. Details are available at FDOCGrower.com.

Originally published in the Florida Citrus Mutual Triangle