A new initiative from Florida’s Department of Citrus (FDOC), an “executive agency of Florida government charged with the marketing, research and regulation of the Florida citrus industry,” is hedging bets on the hope that Americans prefer their oranges to be homegrown.
“Florida supplies more than half of the orange juice Americans drink each year, but not every carton of OJ has roots in U.S. soil, a press release from the citrus department explains. In order to highlight its own Florida orange juice, the department has introduced a website, FindFloridaOJ.com, which allows shoppers to find out whether a given bottle of orange juice is actually Florida-grown.
The site, which runs on both mobile and desktop platforms, asks users to take a picture of the bottle’s UPC code and “instantly learn whether it hails from Florida.” Florida’s citrus industry is second only to Brazil in terms of orange production, and employs nearly 62,000 people. Each year, the industry provides an estimated $10.7 billion to the state, which helps fund schools and public works.
“As more Americans desire to know the origins of their food, it’s only natural for us to connect 100 percent Florida orange juice with those who value our homegrown roots,” said Shannon Shepp, interim executive director of the FDOC. “This program allows us to educate consumers and help them make choices that are right for their families.”