When Grandpa Was A Boy, Were There Any Dinosaurs?

Not Just For Eating

1907: In 1870, there were 30,000 orange trees in California; 20 years later, there were 1.1 million. At the start of the 20th century, Californian citrus growers ran the risk of producing more oranges than they could sell, and with recently planted trees set to begin bearing fruit, the problem was likely to worsen.

Growers faced a stark choice – reduce supply or increase demand. So, in 1907, the California Fruit Growers Exchange teamed up with Lord & Thomas advertising agency. The growers adopted the name Sunkist for their produce; the advertisers launched energetic sales campaigns and devised snappy slogans.

Another thing: up until that point, Americans ate oranges, but few drank orange juice. Extracting juice from oranges was time-consuming and messy; soda-fountain operators disliked doing it for their customers, and mothers weren’t keen on doing it for their families. In 1915, Don Francisco of the CFGE worked with manufacturers to develop commercial and domestic fruit extractors. The devices were highly popular.

Sales of oranges jumped nationwide. Annual per capita consumption rose from 31 in 1906, to 52 by 1926, and to 79 in 1936.

Source: Jeffrey L. Cruikshank and Arthur W. Schultz, The Man Who Sold America: The Amazing (But True!) Story of Albert D. Lasker and the Creation of the Advertising Century (2010), chap. 7

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