Spring has sprung, and that means it’s time for Citrus from Chile! As the premier Southern Hemisphere citrus supplier to North America, Chile commenced shipping in Week 16, with 71,771 boxes of clementines currently on the water. As of May 2, 55,268 boxes of clementines were headed for the East Coast and 16,503 to the West. Chilean Clementines will be followed by lemons, navels and mandarins.
The Chilean citrus industry anticipates similar overall volumes of citrus in comparison to last year, with total volume reaching 350,000 tons vs. 358,000 in 2018. Clementine volume is expected to have the greatest variation, falling by eight percent to 58,000 tons. Juan Enrique Ortuzar, president of the Chilean Citrus Committee, explains that this was not unexpected. “In 2018, Chilean clementine production jumped fifty three percent. After a year of high production, blooms tend to be less intense, so this reduction in volume is not a surprise. The overall trend for Chilean Clementine volume is incredibly positive. In 2017, we shipped 40,687 tons of clementines to North America, and this year, the estimate is 58,000 tons. That’s an increase of forty three percent in just two years!”
Expectations are high for a strong clementine season. Weather and growing conditions have provided the ideal scenario for good brix and sizing, and cool fall nights have turned the fruit to a brilliant orange color. Chile is facing higher than usual stock levels in the U.S. market, but the Committee is confident that consistently high quality fruit and strong marketing support will be the right combination to generate demand and drive sales.
With merchandisers throughout the U.S. and Canada, the Chilean Citrus Committee is putting both in-store and online promotions in place with retail chains big and small. They will also be promoting extensively throughout Fruits from Chile social media channels, Comments Karen Brux, Managing Director of the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association, “In 2018, we ran citrus promotions in more than 50 retail chains, with a strong focus on creative, high-impact promotions that generated double digit sales increases. We hope to extend our reach even further this season. We’ll also engage our social media followers with videos direct from Chilean citrus orchards, new recipes and interactive promotions. We just reached a Facebook following of 350,000, so we have a large, captive audience!” Weekly crop updates are now available, and the Committee will be sending more detailed information on lemons, navels and mandarins as shipments of these fruits begin.