GAINESVILLE, Fla. — New research from the University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Science shows consumers are more likely to buy orange juice if they think the fruit comes from Florida - even if that wasn't necessarily the case.
Nearly half of the respondents in a new survey led by assistant research scientist Yan Heng say they’re more willing to pay for orange juice if it comes from Florida.
Economists found that any image or printed use of the word “Florida” makes oranges from the Sunshine State the most preferred juice among buyers.
In summary, juice from Florida is perceived to have better taste and quality.
Consumers prefer orange juice from Florida because the state has a long history of citrus production. But many people do not know that some of the orange juice on the market is not 100% from Florida citrus, Heng said.
According to the Florida Department of Citrus, while 80% of orange juice consumers who responded to a 2021 survey think oranges in their juice came from Florida, only 45% of orange juice in the market was from Florida that year.
The leading sources for orange juice that is not from concentrate -- where most of Florida’s processed orange crop is utilized – are Florida, Brazil, and Mexico, among other domestic sources, said Marisa Zansler, director of economic and market research for the Florida Department of Citrus.
Heng thinks it’s important that consumers know whether they’re buying orange juice made from 100% Florida oranges or elsewhere.
Stores and marketers may benefit more by maintaining the “Florida image” that consumers often associate with orange juice.
“We already have some additional information, like labels, on juice containers to tell consumers the origin of the product,” Heng said. “I think we just need to emphasize that when we communicate with consumers.”
The new data on Florida orange juice comes as good news for Florida citrus growers, who are looking for rays of hope amid the devastation of citrus greening. The disease has reduced citrus production by millions of boxes annually since it was discovered in Florida in 2005.
Despite the challenges caused by greening, Florida leads the nation in orange juice production.