Florida OJ Has Solid Share of Consumers

Daniel CooperFlorida, Orange Juice, Research

Photo by Tyler Jones, UF/IFAS

A significant portion of consumers are drawn to Florida orange juice (OJ) despite recent economic setbacks, a University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) study shows. 

“There is an intrinsic value that consumers have for Florida orange juice. When they think of Florida, orange juice is often part of the imagery,” said Marisa Zansler, director of economic and market research with the Florida Department of Citrus and co-author of an Ask IFAS document tracking OJ purchasing habits.


Researchers with the UF/IFAS Food and Resource Economics Department (FRE) followed the trajectory of 100% OJ sales between 2018 and 2023. That was a period when the state’s citrus crops grappled with violent weather, HLB and the highest inflation rates in more than 40 years.

Most surprising among the findings was the fluctuation in OJ prices over time, said Sungeun Yoon, an assistant research scientist with UF/IFAS FRE. Sales of OJ soared during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, increasing 16% in sales volume and 18% in dollar sales compared to 2019. The researchers said consumers were likely influenced by the health benefits associated with OJ.

The “pandemic effect” began to fade in 2021, with OJ volume sales decreasing 7% and dollar sales decreasing 4% compared to the year before. At the same time, inflation was climbing, and the price of OJ eventually increased enough to keep retail dollar sales consistent with pandemic levels.

But prices kept rising, and a gallon of OJ cost $8.82 by the first quarter of 2023, 14% higher than 2022. For many consumers, the price proved too high. Dollar sales correspondingly decreased 11% to $765 million during that first quarter on a year-over-year basis.

The spread of HLB and damage from weather-related events like Hurricane Irma in 2017, Hurricane Ian in 2022 and a freeze in 2022 have hurt Florida’s citrus industry. “These supply-side disruptions have had a profound and direct impact on the cost of production, leading to higher OJ prices,” Zansler said.

While all these factors have resulted in less OJ sold and less revenue earned, the share of OJ consumers is relatively constant.


UF’s Florida Agricultural Marketing Research Center designed a consumer tracker survey to gain insight into shopping behavior and attitudes toward OJ. By gathering data from 500 adult grocery shoppers every month, the tracker determined the percentage of active OJ consumers — those who purchased OJ in the past 30 days. That figure increased from 48% in 2021 to 51% in 2022 and remained constant during the first four months of 2023. The tracker also revealed 60% of respondents queried since 2019 consider OJ a valuable food product.

“It was reassuring to observe the relatively constant shares of consumers who purchased OJ in the past 30 days and who have a positive perception of OJ during the inflationary period,” Yoon said. “This signals the possibility of higher OJ demand once the OJ price level stabilizes.”

Source: UF/IFAS

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