By Chilean Fresh Fruit Association
Southern Hemisphere citrus suppliers to North America, Chile commenced shipping the week of April 13th with 71,771 boxes of clementines by boat.
As of May 2nd, 55,268 boxes of clementines were headed for the East Coast and 16,503 boxes to the West Coast. Chilean Clementines will be followed by lemons, navels and mandarins. It takes about 21 days to arrive at U.S. ports.
The Chilean citrus industry anticipates similar overall volumes of citrus in comparison to last year, with the total volume reaching 350,000 tons vs. 358,000 in 2018. Clementine volume is expected to have the greatest variation, falling by 8 percent to 58,000 tons.
Juan Enrique Ortuzar, president of the Chilean Citrus Committee, explains this was not unexpected.
“In 2018, Chilean clementine production jumped 53 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 43 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.
“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,” says Karen Brux, Managing Director of the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association . “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.