I know what you are thinking. Indeed, for all I know, O.J. Simpson and his brand management team might be planning a comeback. Stranger things have happened, but despite the fact that he is out of prison and on parole, I'm going to guess that O.J.'s brand equity is probably tapped out. And yet I have seen too much, and I would never bet against him.
But we aren't talking about that O.J. in this case. Readers of this column over the past 7 years know that the orange juice category has been battered by lower-calorie substitutes, an increasing aversion among consumers to sugary beverages, as well as price increases due to unfavorable conditions in the natural environment. As such, "the juice" has been in decline for quite some time now. Orange Juice bottomed out around 2012 with a decrease of around 10%, and the category has been in negative territory ever since. But we haven't had a really bad flu season since that time. And when it comes to OJ, flu's matter.
Despite the fact that research shows only a "tenuous" link between orange juice consumption and flu prevention, consumption increases dramatically during seasons where flu incidences are high. And so it should be no great surprise that the category, after yet another nearly 10% reduction in revenue in 2017, is on the rise in 2018.
But don't get too excited. Growth is barely over 1%, and it is certain that the category will drop back to its increasingly moribund position among beverages. It's full of sugar, it's tough on your stomach and teeth, it's getting even more expensive than it already is, and there are lots of other ways for health-conscious consumers to get their vitamin C. Indeed if one judges on the basis of consumer popularity, the future doesn't look terribly bright for either of the OJ's. But Mr. Simpson probably has a better chance of making a comeback than does the traditional breakfast beverage.
In other news, the early 70's band "the O'Jays", despite the advanced age of its members is still going strong. But once again--I digress.
Discussion: Do you drink OJ? If not, what beverages do you drink with breakfast? If you don't drink orange juice, how do you get your daily Vitamin C?
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