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.
Quotes are real-time for NASDAQ, NYSE and AMEX. See delay times for other exchanges.
Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Thomson Reuters (click for restrictions). Real-time quotes provided by BATS Exchange. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Interactive Data Real-Time Services. 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 SIX Financial Information.
The fraudster says he's making $40 a month -- about the same as Bangladesh garment workers.
- Motor home sales rise in hopeful economic sign
- Mike Bloomberg: Skip college, become a plumber
- Will Yahoo ruin Tumblr?
- Some customers ashamed of their McDonald's bags
- Obamacare could bring more Band-Aid coverage
- Taxpayers won't win on General Motors shares
- Are hipsters hiking Pabst Blue Ribbon prices?
- 8 things about Tumblr's young, rich founder
- Stephen King's latest book sticks to print
[BRIEFING.COM] The Russell 2000 crosssed the 1,000 level for the first time ever today and the S&P 500 established a new all-time, intraday high. Those were some of the more memorable highlights of what was an otherwise nondescript day of trading.
By and large, there just wasn't a lot of conviction on the part of either buyers or sellers. The major indices spent time on either side of the unchanged line, but never put a whole lot of distance between themselves and ... More
More Market News
When it comes to efficiency gains, a watt saved is a watt earned.