Sunday, May 19, 2024

Florida welcome centers in Tampa will continue to offer free orange juice as a staple feature

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Florida Citrus Commission Faces Budget Cut, but Free Orange Juice at Welcome Centers Will Continue

The Florida Citrus Commission is facing a budget cut for their promotional efforts, but one thing that will remain unchanged is the free orange juice flowing at interstate welcome centers. Despite a pending 10 percent budget reduction, the commission is set to approve a $225,000 contract with Visit Florida to continue offering the refreshing beverage to travelers.

John Fuller, director of global marketing for the Florida Department of Citrus, explained that the reduction in funding is due to the decrease in the number of welcome centers. Visit Florida currently operates three highway welcome centers after closing one in 2019.

The tradition of offering free cups of juice at welcome centers dates back to 1949, and after a public outcry, funding for the promotional effort was reinstated in 2020. The focus of the promotional efforts will now shift towards promoting the health benefits of citrus through e-commerce channels.

Despite the challenges facing the citrus industry, such as citrus-greening disease and the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, the Citrus Commission remains committed to promoting the health, safety, wellness, and nutrition benefits of Florida citrus products. The proposed state budget for the upcoming fiscal year includes $9 million for citrus promotions, down from $10 million in the current fiscal year.

As the industry works to overcome these challenges, the Citrus Commission will also be receiving a presentation about a preliminary budget for the next fiscal year at their upcoming meeting on Thursday.

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