Approximately 350 members of the global citrus industry convened at the International Citrus Business Conference held this week in Daytona Beach. The event was presented by Morris Agribusiness Services and AgNet Media.
Allen Morris of Morris Agribusiness Services says the conference was attended by nearly all segments of the international citrus industry. Growers, processors, brokers, byproducts and flavor companies and research institutions were among those with representatives at the event.
According to Morris, one of the key points made during the presentations was that growth in the citrus beverage market is driven by low sugar, low calories, flavor and nutritional benefits.
“My talk was about restoring growth in the U.S. orange juice market,” Morris says. “We’ve lost 50 percent of the market since 2002, and we continue to lose that market at the rate of about 7.5 percent a year.” He says 60 percent of the sales decline is due to price. “Forty percent is due to irrational fear of natural sugar content of juice, and consumers not knowing the numerous health benefits of orange juice. That needs to be changed. We need to design a specific marketing campaign that debunks the myth of high sugar causing obesity, because it does not … And we need to list all the numerous health benefits of orange juice.”
There won’t be a citrus industry if the orange juice market isn’t restored, he says.
Despite the seriousness of the issues discussed at the conference, Morris says attendees were optimistic about what they learned. “Some said it was the best conference they’ve ever been to … They thought it was well organized, well planned … and hope we have these (conferences) again in the future.”
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