Florida Department of Citrus money unused because of the coronavirus pandemic will be directed toward increasing orange juice sales, as projections of this season’s citrus production have declined.
The Florida Citrus Commission agreed Tuesday to add $277,000 to an ongoing digital ad campaign, with most of the money coming from employee travel plans that were halted because of the deadly virus.
“The additional funding for global marketing is going towards extending and enhancing the current digital and social marketing campaign to drive sales of 100 percent orange juice,” FDOC Assistant Director of Global Marketing Shelley Rossetter said in an email after the commission’s vote, which came in a conference call.
The campaign, budgeted at $4.5 million for the fiscal year that ends June 30, is targeted at “lapsed” orange juice buyers, primarily parents between the ages of 30 and 60 who haven’t bought juice during the prior month.
Because of the pandemic, the agency’s global marketing staff has shifted from the road to working online and by telephone. Also, the commission staff has had to cancel plans for a media presentation in Arizona on the health benefits of orange juice and attending a registered dietitians conference in Canada.
The increased attention on the marketing campaign came as the state saw projected orange production drop this month by 0.5 percent from an April forecast, while projected grapefruit production is down 5.7 percent in the same period, according to a forecast released Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
“We remain hopeful that the Valencia production will stay on par with current projections,” Florida Department of Citrus Executive Director Shannon Shepp said in a prepared statement.
Even with the lower numbers, growers started the current season facing an oversupply of citrus because juice processors did not expect Florida production to return to the level seen just before Hurricane Irma in 2017. Processors signed three- and five-year supply deals with growers from countries including Mexico and Brazil.
Source: News Service of Florida
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