Members of Peace River Valley Citrus Growers Association gathered in Arcadia last week for their annual meeting and dinner. Updates were provided on association business, the state legislative session and citrus Extension activities. In addition, Samantha Lane, global marketing director for the Florida Department of Citrus (FDOC), gave an insightful presentation on consumer purchasing habits and how orange juice (OJ) is being marketed to capitalize on changes.
Lane noted the world has gone digital. That’s not new, but the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the trend. Many consumers are now making purchase decisions based on what they see online. People also are purchasing grocery items online.
Average consumers now spend more than two hours per day on social media. Facebook has nearly 3 billion active users, and TikTok is expected to surpass 1.5 billion users this year. According to Lane, this represents a major opportunity for marketers. In fact, 84% of people say they have been convinced to buy a product after watching a brand’s video online. Seventy-nine percent of Americans used e-commerce in the past year, and 51% say they prefer to shop online rather than in-person.
So how is FDOC capitalizing on this trend? Lane said it represents a huge opportunity to reach consumers more cost effectively than ever before. In January of 2020, FDOC launched a new digital campaign focused on the health benefits of Florida orange juice. The aim was to get old customers back, reminding them that Florida OJ is the original wellness drink.
“The FDOC’s campaign happened to be perfectly timed in advance of the pandemic,” Lane said. “Juice sales jumped during the pandemic. Since then, we’ve seen sales above pre-pandemic levels, but it’s more important than ever to be where consumers live online, reminding them to put Florida orange juice in their cart.”
To do this, FDOC has partnered with leading e-commerce players like Walmart, Amazon and Instacart to promote juice. Since July 2021, the campaign has achieved $51.1 million in attributed OJ sales.
“That’s when a consumer sees our ad from one of our retail partners and puts OJ in their cart and buys it,” Lane said. “And because we live in a social world, another integral part of the digital campaign is delivering engaging content through Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and TikTok.”
The campaign also is engaging online influencers to promote juice. Lane said all these efforts are keeping Florida orange juice on top as the No. 1 consumed fruit juice.