Tarrytown, NY-based importer, Jac. Vandenberg has high expectations for the 2021 summer citrus season as it begins receiving its first citrus containers of the season from the southern hemisphere.
With citrus remaining a hot item on many consumer’s shopping lists, Vandenberg is optimistic for a good season. The Vandenberg citrus portfolio includes lemons, oranges, mandarins, grapefruit and tangelos from Argentina, Australia, Chile, Peru, South Africa and Uruguay. Last summer season, Vandenberg imported over 28,000 tons of citrus and expects to see an increase this season.
Of the 28,000 tons of citrus it imports, just about half of this volume is in mandarins. Vandenberg has already received its first containers of off-shore easy-peelers from Peru and Uruguay and will see the first arrivals from Chile and South Africa within a few weeks. The weather conditions in all growing regions have been conducive to growing mandarins and the expectations are that there will be a good, healthy crop. Vandenberg expect to see an increase in the total volume entering the US market but not at the same pace as last season. The biggest growth in volume is expected in Murcotts available in late August through October.
Vandenberg explains that while demand has been a key contributor for why mandarins make up such a high percentage of their total summer citrus portfolio, another important contributor has been the success of the SUNRAYS® brand.
“Since we introduced SUNRAYS® in 2017, we’ve seen steady growth year after year” says Jac. Vandenberg’s Brand Manager, John Paap. “We’ve invested a lot of resources into developing a brand that resonates with today’s shopper when it comes to quality, flavor, mission and story. We have set a high standard for what is packed in the SUNRAYS® brand to ensure that the consumer always has the best possible eating experience. Couple that with a kid-friendly design centered around our partnership with Save the Children and our environmental initiatives, we’ve seen tremendous success and demand.”
Vandenberg offers retailers various marketing tools, both digital and in-store, to help share the SUNRAYS® story with their customers. Vandenberg will be partnering with several retailers across the country this summer to organize display contests to continue to drive excitement around the SUNRAYS® brand and story.
Another area of excitement for Vandenberg is in its sustainability initiatives. Just last year, Vandenberg unveiled their BIO bags – mesh netting made 100% of beechwood from PEFC-certified forests and certified home compostable. Vandenberg shares that this package is seeing significant growth entering the 2021 summer citrus season.
“The volume packed in the BIO bags was relatively low last summer since it had only recently been introduced. However, we’ve seen incredible growth in interest in this bag leading up to this summer and so we’ve had to expand our operation by securing additional equipment to pack in the BIO bags” says Paap. The netting is manufactured by VPZ in Austria with a zero-carbon footprint and Vandenberg is the exclusive receiver of this material in the United States. “We are excited to see retailers and consumers alike supporting and falling in love with this netting as much as us! There is truly nothing else like it on the US market right now and we are thrilled to be able to offer something that is genuinely sustainable.”
Vandenberg is offering its BIO bags for all its citrus products packed in the SUNRAYS® and Bagu labels.
With anticipated strong citrus demand, growth of the SUNRAYS® brand and desire for sustainable packaging, it is clear to see why Vandenberg is eyeing a bright summer citrus season.