Summertime is Chilean lemon time! Chile has become a key supply source for lemons over the summer months, shipping 55,000 tons to the U.S. market in 2019. The Chilean Citrus Committee projects similar volumes for 2020, with 23,148 tons already shipped to the U.S. through Week 28. Steady, promotable volumes will be available through September, with shipments winding down around Week 37.
U.S. retail sales of lemons have been swift. While the downturn in foodservice has presented some challenges, weekly IRI data has shown stronger than ever movement at retail. Looking at sales data from the beginning of April through the week ending July 5, weekly retail sales of lemons have increased anywhere from 19-49% compared with the same week in 2019.
In order to drive shopper demand for Chilean lemons, the Chilean Citrus Committee has developed a video full of new ways for consumers to love lemons. The video is on the Fruits from Chile YouTube channel, (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yIXCwRx0HYs), and it’s also available for the trade to download and share on their social media channels.
The Citrus Committee is partnering with retailers on numerous digital programs for lemons, including everything from digital coupons and web banners to supermarket dietitian segments communicating family-friendly usage ideas. Geotargeted ads will also be running to support sales in select markets.
Karen Brux, Managing Director of the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association, attributes much of this increase to the immune boosting properties of lemons. “One lemon provides almost half of the recommended daily vitamin C intake, so they’re the perfect go-to for a quick energy recharge. Whether you’re adding some slices to your water, squeezing juice into your salad dressing or zesting on top of your favorite pasta, lemons can amp up the flavor and nutrition of just about anything.” Brux further commented, “Summertime means summer barbecues, and lemons are a perfect fruit for grilling!”
Juan Enrique Ortúzar, president of the Chilean Citrus Committee, notes that weather conditions have been favorable for lemons and the Chilean citrus industry, overall. “Following a long period of drought, Chile has finally received some healthy amounts of rain, and more rainfall is in the forecast. While this has created some temporary delays in the harvest, it has also helped the fruit to grow and reach full size, so our lemons are looking beautiful. The rainfall will also benefit future citrus crops.”