The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly altered consumer behaviors, especially in relation to food and beverage consumption.
Bennett Travers, senior communications planner at Edelman, Florida Department of Citrus (FDOC) marketing agency partner, recently hosted a webinar on shifts in consumer behavior and the implications for 100 percent orange juice (OJ) now and in the future.
A RETURN TO OJ
Amidst uncertainty, the COVID-19 crisis has brought people back to OJ for very specific reasons. Health and wellness, increased alcohol consumption, comfort and working from home top the list.
COVID-19 drove an interest and purchase spike in immunity-boosting products and content, leading to a 34 percent increase of people drinking OJ. Of that group, 93 percent of consumers either plan to increase their consumption or continue drinking the same amount.
An increase in alcohol consumption can also contribute to the return of orange juice, since it is commonly used as an ingredient in cocktails. As social media drowns in “quarantinis” and Zoom happy hours in addition to the stress and boredom quarantine has brought about, 23 percent of Americans say they are drinking more alcohol.
Also, amidst uncertainty, people have turned to nostalgic foods for a sense of comfort. Consumers are currently less concerned about sugar and calories; they’re indulging in comfort foods as a coping mechanism.
“They’re really turning to the snack foods that bring them nostalgia and remind them of their childhood. Knowing that that is a trend, orange juice fits in really nicely there. It really does turn up those nostalgia feelings for a lot of people in addition to being something with health benefits,” Travers said.
Additionally, working from home has allowed people more time to enjoy a sit-down breakfast, where they have rediscovered their favorite breakfast foods like pancakes, cereal and orange juice.
MARKETING MOVING FORWARD
According to Travers, there are a few important actions to consider related to marketing fresh, Florida orange juice. As consumers still look for comfort and simplicity from their food, now is the time to emphasize the great taste of OJ and its simple ingredients. She adds that increasing digital targeting will be key in the post-pandemic era.
“A lot of the consumers that previously may have had barriers or reasons not to leverage digital technology are now doing so for everyday tasks like grocery shopping in a way they’ve never done before,” Travers says.
She suggests making orange juice connections multi-sensory. Traditionally, food heavily relies on the physical interactions like taste and touch. However, social distancing can make it difficult to create that physical interaction. Moving forward, it will be important to foster a sense of community and togetherness through the taste of orange juice.
Lastly, Travers says that establishing orange juice as a new ritual will be beneficial.
“Again, more consumers are working from home than they ever have, and they’re planning to make that a permanent addition in their lives,” says Travers. “Even as some people begin to venture back into the workplace, people are going to be thinking about what is essential in their lives and what they want to reincorporate in their lives. So, it’s really important to establish how orange juice is an essential. It’s an essential piece of your breakfast; it’s an essential piece of your immunity booster as well.”
Cementing orange juice within essential rituals like cooking breakfast or improving daily immunity will continue to drive sales, concludes Travers.
To view the entire webinar, click here.
This article was written by Ashley Robinson, AgNet Media communications intern in Gainesville, Florida.