What the Citrus Sector Should Do to Increase Juice Demand

Bob Behr receives 2019 Citrus Achievement Award

Florida’s Natural CEO Dr. Bob Behr gives his acceptance speech during the Citrus Achievement Award trophy presentation at the Florida Citrus Industry Annual Conference.
Photo by Tamara Wood/Florida Citrus Mutual

This is the third installment of four special features honoring the 2019 Florida Grower Citrus Achievement Award winner, Bob Behr, CEO of Florida’s Natural Growers and Citrus World. Special thanks to UPL USA for sponsoring the Citrus Achievement Award program

What are some top actions the industry should be considering to increase demand for orange juice?
Behr: The industry needs to be more proactive in responding to the negative publicity it has been getting regarding the health benefits of orange juice. Florida citrus products, whether it be orange juice, grapefruit juice, or fresh citrus, are incredibly nutritious, and this attribute is being drowned out by the ‘caloric content’ noise. Compared to other beverages, there are few that pack as much nutritional punch per calorie than orange juice. The industry needs to support more aggressive advertising, promotions, and public relations activity in order to expand demand and tout the health benefits of its products.

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What are some of the things Florida’s Natural Growers does to attract, train, and retain young talent to become future leaders in the company and citrus industry?
Behr: It’s not easy to attract and retain young talent in today’s labor environment, particularly in a food manufacturing/marketing sector that has had its challenges in recent years. There are numerous tactics Florida’s Natural Growers pursues to help attract, train, and retain people to become future leaders. One tactic we use to attract people is an internship program that taps into students from local colleges and universities. Mentoring also is an important practice to prepare people for growth within the organization. Clearly, we need to have the right mix of benefits and culture to retain people. Florida’s Natural Growers has been one of the best places to work in Polk County over the past decade, and this is a source of great pride for our team.