Summer is just around the corner, and that means it’s time for Citrus from Chile! The Chilean Citrus industry is forecasting export volume of 347,000 tons across all categories, which represents a 4% increase over 2019. Growth will be driven mainly by mandarins and clementines, with navel volume slightly lower than last year and lemon volume about the same. North America continues to lead as Chile’s primary export market for citrus.
Looking at clementines, Chile has been meeting strong market demand, with exports through Week 23 an impressive 38% ahead of same time last season. The clementine harvest is currently concentrated in the Coquimbo and Valparaíso regions (Oronules, Clemenules and Orogrande varieties), with harvesting just starting in the O’Higgins region.
Shoppers can expect to have an especially great eating experience when they pick up a Chilean clementine this summer. Comments Juan Enrique Ortúzar, president of the Chilean Citrus Committee, “This season’s weather and growing conditions have been ideal for growing sweet fruit with good sizing. Cool fall nights have given the clementines a brilliant orange color and very good Brix.”
Promotable volumes of easy peelers will be available through October. Clementine shipments will wrap up around Week 30, but mandarin shipments will commence by Week 28, generating a solid stream of easy peelers throughout summer and into fall.
In light of COVID-19, the Citrus Committee has moved primarily online with its consumer and trade marketing campaigns. States Karen Brux, Managing Director of the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association, “With its strong immune-boosting benefits, citrus is experiencing heavy consumer demand. We’ll give this an extra push through social media outreach and online contests during the Chilean citrus season. We have more than 500,000 Facebook fans and more than 20,000 subscribers of our Fruits from Chile e-newsletter. These will be two key vehicles in communicating healthy, family-friendly ideas for using Chilean citrus throughout the day, whether easy peelers, lemons or navels.” Brux continued, “As the country continues to open up, retail promotion formats will also continue to evolve. We envision primarily online programs, like digital coupons or online cooking classes, but as in-store opportunities increase, our merchandisers in the U.S. and Canada will be ready to support these programs.”
Weekly crop updates are now available, and the Committee will be sending more detailed information on lemons, navels and mandarins as shipments progress.