The Florida Citrus Commission (FCC) approved the Florida Department of Citrus’ (FDOC) preliminary operating budget of $29.12 million, an increase of $9.75 million from last season. The FCC serves as the governing board for the FDOC. Steve Johnson, FCC chairman, said the increased budget is largely due to the receipt of $17 million in general revenue funding from the state for marketing.
The department’s budget includes an increase in administrative costs for deferred information technology systems maintenance. Health and wellness research allocations are increased to restore previous cuts. In addition, there are increases to domestic marketing programs. Domestic marketing for processed orange juice represents the bulk of the budget at $18.43 million, an increase of $8.91 million from the previous season.
In an email to members of the Florida citrus industry, Johnson stated that Americans “continue to turn to 100% orange juice for its health and wellness benefits following a shift in demand during the pandemic. While sales initially skyrocketed in March 2020, they have since trended above 2019 levels, bucking previous trends and showing sustained momentum for the category at retail.” OJ sales had trended downward for years prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Now, maintaining that momentum is key,” Johnson wrote. He added that the FDOC “will continue to drive sales of Florida orange juice through retail e-commerce partners. This season, the department drove more than $24 million in attributed sales of orange juice. In 2021-22, with the additional support provided by the state, the department will expand its e-commerce programs to include a larger target audience and more regional, national and online retailers to drive an estimated $30-45 million in attributed sales.”
Johnson stated that new programs will launch July 1. “In the groves, we are making progress, and positive signs are beginning to emerge for the year ahead,” he added.
Source: Florida Department of Citrus
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