Flu fear boosting sales of Florida orange juice as industry touts immune system benefits
Florida's orange juice industry is pounding the message that OJ can help your immune system ... which, by the way, might keep swine flu away. Check out the ad here at the Florida Department of Citrus that has the reassuring voice of Tom Selleck cooing: "Once a day, you can support your immune system."
Yes, it seems OJ is a big beneficiary of the public's belief that drinking more juice might help fend off the spread of H1N1 flu. Analysts say retail orange-juice sales have climbed for the past six months on increased demand from the threat of flu, the approaching winter season and lower retail prices, the Wall Street Journal reports. Here's the story.
And quoted in that story is James Cordier (see photo), analyst and founder of Optionsellers.com (part of Liberty Trading Group) in Tampa. We know Cordier best as a commentator on oil prices but at some level OJ and oil are both commodities and that's what Cordier watches. The St. Petersburg Times profiled him three years ago.
As Cordier is quoted in today's WSJ story:
"I bet that 30% to 40% of the increase in sales that we've seen in orange juice can be attributed to health concerns."
That's just what the doctor ordered for Florida's orange juice crop which is expected to be 16 percent smaller than last year and have lower average prices at the grocery store. The Agriculture Department projects Florida's 2009-10 orange crop at a smaller-than-expected 136 million, 90-pound boxes.
So if a little flu fear can boost sales, so be it.
-- Robert Trigaux, Times Business Columnist