P.M. BRIEFING : Florida Eyes Orange Market

From Times Wire Services

The Florida Department of Citrus is considering spending $5.7 million on a national advertising campaign to convince shoppers that Florida oranges are equal to their California counterparts.

The advertising campaign in 1990 and 1991 would be aimed at cutting into the California navel orange market, which produces more than 75% of all fresh oranges eaten in the United States, officials said Tuesday.

About 95% of Florida’s oranges are squeezed into juice. Florida Department of Citrus Executive Director Dan Gunter said the industry may be able to expand the amount of Florida fresh fruit that consumers eat if it can improve on the oranges’ image.

“We have found in . . . research that the most serious problem facing Florida oranges in the marketplace is that they are usually not bright orange in color,” he said. “We need to convince consumers that the juicier, better-tasting oranges they are looking for are found in the light-colored wrappers,” Gunter said.