The boom in OJ (orange juice) sales during the COVID-19 pandemic was highlighted during Marisa Zansler’s report to the Florida Citrus Commission in May. Zansler is the Florida Department of Citrus’ (FDOC) director of economic and market research.
Prior to the pandemic, orange juice sales had decreased annually by an average of 5.5.% each year, Zansler reported. She noted that promotional dollars dipped, and OJ became less top of mind among an increase in beverage options and declining supply and distribution.
However, Nielsen volume sales gains after one year of the pandemic, March 2020 through March 2021, were more than 68.8 million additional equivalent gallons, Zansler said. So far in the current season, not-from-concentrate sales are up by 2.7% compared to last season with 152.7 million gallons sold. Reconstituted sales are down by 6.3% compared to last season with 80 million equivalent gallons sold since October 2020.
In terms of OJ awareness, indications continue that consumers are still shopping with COVID-19 in mind. About 28% of respondents to the FDOC OJ Consumer Tracker indicated they have purchased more juice due to COVID-19 since the onset of the pandemic. Orange juice supporting a healthy immune system has emerged as the leading reason for the increased purchases. About 11% of respondents indicated they have purchased less due to the pandemic, with 30% of those citing juice being out of stock as the reason. Increased price provided another reason for those buying less. Those who have seen or heard anything about OJ in the past 30 days were more than three times as likely to purchase more juice during this time.
Looking at the big picture of Florida production, the industry continues to see a decline in crop size and presumed consumption of orange juice while prices continue to climb, Zansler reported. However, consumption remains significantly higher than Florida production. Globally, OJ stocks were tight as Mexico experienced freeze events and Brazil faced drought conditions. Overall, global juice supply remains down.
Source: Florida Department of Citrus
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