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Low-Carb Diets Hurt Florida O.J. Sales

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

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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Snigdha Prakash
Pieces by National Desk reporter Snigdha Prakash can be heard on NPR's All Things Considered and Morning Edition. The majority of Snigdha's past reports have focused on topics related to entrepreneurship, business, banking and the economy.