Florida Growers Urged to Hear OJ Budget Talks

Ernie NeffOrange Juice

Ned Hancock

Florida Citrus Commission Chairman Ned Hancock urged members of the citrus industry to join the June 17 commission meeting via teleconference. He said the commission will consider several budget scenarios for fruit grown for orange juice (OJ). See information about the meeting here. The commission serves as the governing board for the Florida Department of Citrus (FDOC).

“I expect we will have more industry discussion around the theory that by restructuring generic promotion programs to focus on NFC (not-from-concentrate orange juice) at retail, we could effectively reduce the free rider effect and improve returns to Florida growers,” Hancock stated. Many use the term “free rider” when arguing that imported orange juice gets promoted for free by FDOC taxes on Florida orange 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,” Hancock added.

He pointed out that OJ sales this season 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 percent orange juice, leading them to seek us out at a time when health and wellness has been top of mind,” he said. “They stocked their pantries and began eating breakfast at home again.” He added that 25 percent of respondents to an FDOC survey 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 percent orange juice at retail through e-commerce channels, provides proof they are well positioned to deliver results in an evolving consumer landscape,” Hancock stated. The e-commerce program began in January. Learn more about consumers’ response to OJ during the COVID-19 outbreak.

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About the Author

Ernie Neff

Senior Correspondent at Large