Can mil­len­ni­als be taught to love OJ?

The Denver Post - - BUSINESS - By Thomas Health

Chalk up or­ange juice as another ca­su­alty of the war on sug­ary bev­er­ages.

Sales of or­ange juice, a one­time break­fast sta­ple, have de­clined pre­cip­i­tously as less­sug­ary green drinks have taken a big chunk of its shelf space. “Amer­i­cans drank less or­ange juice in 2015 than in any year since Nielsen be­gan col­lect­ing data in 2002,” the Wall Street Jour­nal re­ported ear­lier this year.

The de­cline is due mostly to the fact that it’s packed with su­gar, al­beit nat­u­ral su­gar.

Pep­siCo, owner of Trop­i­cana, has lined up a mar­ket­ing campaign to boost the 70year-old brand with mil­len­ni­als. The bev­er­age gi­ant this month be­gan buy­ing na­tive ad­ver­tis­ing space with Ash­ton Kutcher’s “A Plus” dig­i­tal news site — which es­pouses pos­i­tive news — in hopes of mak­ing mil­len­ni­als learn to love its OJ. The site has 11.5 mil­lion unique monthly vis­i­tors, ac­cord­ing to a Septem­ber news re­lease.

The na­tive con­tent se­ries, called “Morn­ing Spark,” in­cludes videos pro­mot­ing OJ as a feel-good morn­ing bev­er­age and pos­i­tive way to start the day. Kutcher’s pull is help­ing with his net­work of celebri­ties. The video has been shared on Face­book by Adam Levine, Robin Thicke and Lil Wayne.

Mar­ion Nes­tle, a pro­fes­sor of nutrition at New York Univer­sity, has no prob­lem with Pepsi try­ing to make an 8-ounce glass part of mil­len­ni­als’ daily con­sti­tu­tional. “They are try­ing to sell or­ange juice, ” said Nes­tle. “That’s their job.”

Nes­tle, who is not known for her soft spot when it comes to Big Bev­er­age, gave the Pur­chase, N.Y.-based food, snack and bev­er­age com­pany a nod. “Pepsi has pledged to put real money into ad­ver­tis­ing its health­ier prod­ucts. Let’s give them credit for do­ing that in this case.”

Pepsi said OJ is a nu­tri­tious eye opener, with vi­ta­min C, es­sen­tial potas­sium and folic acid, cru­cial to women of child­bear­ing age. But David Lud­wig, a pro­fes­sor of nutrition at Har­vard’s T.H. Chan School of Pub­lic Health, cau­tioned con­sumers be­fore they jump on the or­ange juice ex­press.

“Fruit juice and whole fruit are not the same,” Lud­wig said. “We need to be en­cour­ag­ing whole fruits while lim­it­ing con­sump­tion of con­cen­trated or pro­cessed sug­ars. And most com­mer­cial fruit juices are in that (pro­cessed sug­ars) cat­e­gory.”

“This campaign flies in the face of na­tional rec­om­men­da­tions to in­crease con­sump­tion of whole foods and limit highly pro­cessed car­bo­hy­drates. Com­mer­cial fruit juices clearly fall into that sec­ond cat­e­gory.” It’s not go­ing to be easy. “Mil­len­ni­als are ob­sessed with health,” said Gabrielle Bosche, a strate­gist who con­sults with com­pa­nies on how to reach younger con­sumers. “Un­less it’s cold pressed and or­ganic, this gen­er­a­tion isn’t in­ter­ested in juice.

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