The increase in sales of U.S. orange juice (OJ) that began during the early days of COVID-19 is continuing, according to Marisa Zansler, director of the Florida Department of Citrus Economic and Market Research Department. Zansler told the Florida Citrus Commission on Sept. 16 that as consumers began to adapt to a new normal while still living under COVID-19 conditions, sales remained elevated over the previous season.
In the four-week period ending Aug. 29, average year-over-year sales of total OJ increased nearly 18 percent with 32.42 million equivalent gallons sold, according to the latest Nielsen retail sales report. Sales of not-from-concentrate (NFC) OJ increased 22 percent for the period. Additionally, Zansler reported, total OJ sales for the season beginning October 2019 are up by nearly 13 percent with 407.6 million equivalent gallons sold. Volume gains were highest among the larger container sizes, due, in part, to retailers stocking those larger containers.
Zansler reported that total sales for the season are currently at 2016 levels.
There is increased awareness for OJ among consumers at this time, Zansler added. Since June, an increasing share of consumers are reporting buying more OJ to support a healthy immune system.
On average, 27 percent of respondents indicated they have purchased more OJ in response to concerns about COVID-19. Each month since March, the majority of respondents who had indicated a media awareness also indicated they increased their OJ purchases.
GRAPEFRUIT JUICE SALES ALSO UP
Sales have increased for grapefruit juice, as well. Total grapefruit juice sales were up by 5 percent for the season with total sales of 11.3 million equivalent gallons sold so far. Volume sales are tracking where they were two seasons ago.
Moving forward, demand will depend on the long-term changes in consumer behavior and whether consumers continue considering OJ an essential purchase, according to Zansler.
She said long-term Florida production depends heavily on replanting and improved yields. Investing in consumer awareness today impacts consumer demand in the future, she stated.
Several months ago, Zansler was the co-author of a study on consumer response to OJ during the COVID-19 outbreak. Learn more about that study.
Source: Florida Department of Citrus
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