Nasty flu season boosts sales of orange juice
Americans are downing plenty of juice, though questions still linger over whether vitamin C actually helps fight colds.
During the four weeks that ended Jan. 19, U.S. orange juice sales rose 5.5% by volume and 7.4% by revenue from a year earlier. It was the first increase in two years, according to Nielsen data cited by The Wall Street Journal. Sales rose even though the prices for a gallon of orange juice are 1.8% higher this year, the paper said.
Orange juice is chock full of vitamin C, which many people believe helps them get over cold and flu symptoms. The idea was made famous by the late Nobel laureate Linus Pauling. Unfortunately, there seems to be a disagreement among scientists about whether this conventional wisdom is true.
"There's very little proof that vitamin C actually has any effect on the common cold," WebMD notes. Science Daily offers vitamin C a qualified endorsement, noting that a study of young competitive swimmers found that the supplement halved the duration of colds in males but had no effect on females. It's unclear why that was the case. Moreover, while vitamin C has a "biological effect" on cold, taking it every day to shorten infrequent colds "does not seem to be reasonable," according to the website.
Scientific issues aside, the flu season is a boon to the orange juice industry. Coca-Cola (KO), parent of Minute Maid, and PepsiCo (PEP), which owns Tropicana, are among the companies that stand to benefit.
Older people, who are often more vulnerable to illness, seem especially keen on buying the product. As the Journal notes, the elderly account for more than 20% of orange-juice purchases. Even as the cold and flu season comes to an end, orange-juice futures prices will remain strong because of worries about supply constraints caused by dry weather and citrus-tree disease in Florida, where 70% of U.S. oranges are grown, the paper says.
--Jonathan Berr does not own shares of the listed stocks. Follow him on Twitter @jdberr.
More on moneyNOW
Copyright © 2013 Microsoft. All rights reserved.
Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.
Sales of collectible automobiles hit an all-time record this year, leading some to speculate that soaring prices could lead to a huge deal.
- Bah, humbug! New Christmas tree tax proposed
- Should you get a store credit card?
- The best credit cards of 2013
- Can a new chief exec keep GM on course?
- 'Tips for Jesus' big spender unmasked?
- Chinese investors are buying up Detroit
- Mega Millions jackpot hits $344 million
- 5 reasons to think twice about a balance transfer card
- Will I have to pay taxes because of a foreclosed home?
[BRIEFING.COM] Equity indices settled on their lows following a steady, session-long slide. Similar to yesterday, small-caps paced the retreat as the Russell 2000 fell 1.6%, extending its December loss to 3.6%. The S&P 500 settled lower by 1.1%, widening its month-to-date decline to 1.3%.
There was no specific news catalyst behind today's slide, which had the markings of broad-based profit-taking. Seven of ten sectors settled with losses of 1.0% or more while only two groups ... More
More Market News
The offering could become the second-biggest this year if underwriters exercise an option to buy more shares.