Low-Carb Diets Hurt Florida O.J. Sales

Citrus Industry Fights Back with New Health-Drink Ads

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Still image from Anita Bryant orange juice commercial

Singer Anita Bryant's "Florida Sunshine Tree" commercials helped popularize Florida orange juice in the 1960s and '70s. Courtesy Florida Dept. of Citrus hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy Florida Dept. of Citrus
A worker picks oranges

A worker picks oranges in Polk County, Florida. Jeff Rogers, NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Jeff Rogers, NPR

The popularity of low-carb diets is taking its toll on orange juice sales. Florida citrus growers hope to counter the drop with a new ad campaign promoting O.J.'s health benefits. NPR's Snigdha Prakash reports.

For a half century, Florida's orange growers have marketed the healthfulness of orange juice. They've made the citrus industry the No. 2 source of revenue for the Sunshine State, second only to tourism.

Over the years, the citrus industry has tackled its share of problems, including devastating freezes and competition from Brazil. But now it faces a new challenge: low-carb diet advocates are comparing orange juice to sugar water.

"We find ourselves for the first time defending orange juice from a standpoint of health," says Andy Taylor, chairman of the Florida Citrus Commission. "This is hallowed ground. We really haven't been here before and sales are down 6 percent over a two-year period."

A new $7-million national ad campaign promotes orange juice for its vitamin content and other nutrients.

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