Stay-at-home orders are reviving orange juice sales

Coca-Cola Co.’s Minute Maid and Simply Orange brand orange juices sit on display in a supermarket in Princeton, Illinois.

Daniel Acker | Bloomberg | Getty Images

After years of declining orange juice consumption, the shelter-in-place orders that have forced Americans to stay home are leading them to drink more of the breakfast staple.

In the eight weeks ended April 18, retail sales of orange juice rose 33.5% compared with a year ago, according to Nielsen data.

Orange juice consumption hit its peak in 1998, topping out at 6.1 gallons per capita, according to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service. By 2017, consumers were drinking 60% less orange juice, following years of backlash about its true health benefits and a wider variety of options of juices and smoothies. 

Lockdowns incited by the coronavirus pandemic mean that Americans are eating breakfast at home, reversing the trend of grabbing the early morning meal on the way to work.

Coca-Cola CEO James Quincey said a week ago that the company’s Minute Maid and Simply orange juices are seeing higher sales. But he thinks that the boost will be mostly wiped out once consumers resume their commutes back to work.

“I think there will be some residual benefit, but it will erode over time,” Quincey said.

On an earnings call Tuesday, PepsiCo, the owner of the Tropicana orange juice brand, didn’t call out the beverage specifically, but did note breakfast at home has lifted sales of Quaker Oats cereals. 

A Pepsi spokesperson wasn’t immediately available to comment. 

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