CLERMONT, Fla. — The state of Florida is experiencing an orange juice sales boom during the pandemic.

What You Need To Know

  • Demand for citrus is soaring, according to Florida Department of Citrus

  • Regulatory agency points to health-conscious consumers in pandemic

  • Owners of Showcase of Citrus say families are coming to visit in droves

  • GO STREET LEVEL: U.S. 27: The Future of Florida's Citrus Industry

The Florida Department of Citrus, which regulates the state's citrus industry, said that's due in part to people pursuing the fruit's health and wellness benefits.

At the 2,500-acre Showcase of Citrus in Clermont, John Arnold and Tara Boshell said they were closed for about a month at the onset of the pandemic. But since they reopened, business has been flowing smoothly.

Hundreds of acres at the Showcase of Citrus acres are used for producing juice, like for Florida's Natural, at a time where orange juice sales across the state are actually up.

The oranges “are just absolutely full of sweet juice right now," Arnold said.

The business and life partners said they've also seen more families coming out to enjoy the grove's wide-open space.

“When we reopened, we realized that there was real high demand for people to go and to have a venue that was safe and open-air," Arnold said.

Added Boshell: “They can meander through the grove on their own, just their family, comfortable, knowing that they’re not enclosed anywhere."

The health benefits of orange juice, like immune system-supporting vitamin C, are especially attractive right now, Florida Department of Citrus Executive Director Shannon Shepp said.

“The demand was up 13% year over year, and those are January numbers, that’s a pretty big deal because we were declining at a rate of 5.5% a year."

She added: “Folks were spending more time at home, obviously having more breakfast at home and more concerned about health and wellness."

According to the Florida agency, every job in Florida citrus supports two jobs in the state economy. Citrus contributes to a $6.5 billion annual economic impact to the state of Florida, it said.

“We’re continuing to plant and march forward with planting more acreage. I mean, this is a vitamin C farm. This what we do," Arnold said.