Opinion: Working To Grow Demand For Florida Citrus

In light of growers’ economic challenges, the Florida Citrus Commission (FCC) voted to maintain the current box tax rates for the 2009-2010 citrus season. Combined with the lower USDA crop forecast, this means that the Florida Department of Citrus (FDOC) is challenged to continue to serve your marketing, research, and regulatory needs with fewer resources. Staff has carefully reviewed and revised proposed program plans to maintain critical functions that support the success of the citrus industry.

Advertisement

Our FDOC mission, first and foremost, is to market Florida citrus. I am proud to report that we have significantly increased the effectiveness of our integrated marketing programs in the past year.

Marketing Accountability Partnership (MAP), an independent research firm, recently completed an analysis of FDOC orange juice marketing for 2008-2009. FDOC advertising, in conjunction with public relations efforts, generated a $5 return for every grower dollar invested. This benefit-to-cost ratio increased 46% from the prior 52 weeks’ return on investment of $3.50. Stated another way, FDOC marketing efforts increased U.S. demand for orange juice by 115.9 million single-strength gallons and generated a $74.7 million benefit to Florida growers.

Healthy Message Nets Healthy Results

As we continue to deliver powerful health and wellness messages about orange juice to motivate target consumers to purchase and drink orange juice every day, we are starting to see some positive economic indicators.

Retail orange juice sales increased 1% for the 2008-2009 season versus 2007-2008. With more than 100 million households purchasing orange juice, retailers are motivated to promote orange juice more often to bring shoppers into their stores. In August, 32% of total retail orange juice volume was sold on a quality promotion, such as feature or display, which represents a 13% increase in promotion over the same period one year ago. Retail promotions are especially important to you, the grower, because 15% to 20% of all orange juice sold on promotion is incremental to the category.

Overall brand advertising spending on orange juice declined by half from 2005 to 2008. We are just beginning to see a change in this trend with reported spending for the first half of 2009 up 33% versus one year ago.

Dollars For Research

We have made significant progress in greening research over the past year with more than 100 research projects funded by the FDOC and Florida Citrus Production Research Advisory Council under way. The current fiscal budget provides for the continuation of multiyear projects while transitioning disease research management to the Citrus Research and Development Foundation (CRDF). The CRDF is tasked to seek additional research funding and commercialize greening solutions for growers as quickly as possible.

You can find detailed information about all FDOC activities on FDOCGrower.com. We will closely measure 2009-2010 programs and activities to ensure they deliver on your investment. This year, we also are asking for your input via a Grower Satisfaction Survey that will be conducted in conjunction with the industry’s grower organizations. We want to ensure that the FDOC is doing the job you expect us to do. Each quarter, growers will be randomly selected to participate in the survey and results will be posted so you can track our progress over time.

We anticipate a consistent crop this year and will work diligently to protect market share for Florida citrus by maintaining marketing, research, and regulatory programs while balancing other critical industry needs. Together, we can overcome our challenges and help ensure future sustainability for the Florida citrus industry.

Your feedback is always welcome and appreciated. Please don’t hesitate to call me at 863-499-2373 or e-mail me at [email protected].