Posts Tagged “Mandarins”
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Rimmed by hills and oil derricks, stretch miles of mandarin orange groves along the Maricopa Highway at the southwestern end of the San Joaquin Valley. These used to be cotton fields, but is now the epicenter of an agricultural boom that has turned mandarins into a rising star.
Since that expansion started in the late 1990s, California’s mandarin plantings have increased 10-fold, from 5,000 to 50,000 acres. The state now ships 92 percent of the nation’s mandarin crop, while Florida, troubled by citrus greening disease and obsolete varieties with seeds, has had its share drop to 8 percent, from 66 percent.
In the process, thanks to new offerings and skillful marketing, mandarins — popularly known as tangerines — have become very popular with American consumers. Mandarin consumption has doubled, to five pounds a year for every American, while orange sales have declined.
Native to China and northeastern India, mandarins are one of five original types of citrus (along with pummelos, citrons, kumquats and papedas) from which all others, like oranges and grapefruit, are derived. Until recently, because most mandarins were relatively small, delicate or full of seeds, they remained less cultivated than other citrus in the United States.
In the late 1990s, two companies with deep pockets and marketing savvy, Sun Pacific and Paramount Citrus (now Wonderful Citrus), gambled big with huge mandarin plantings on the Maricopa Highway, 25 miles southwest of Bakersfield, where they were isolated from other citrus whose pollen could make the fruit seedy.
Mandarins lead all citrus categories in dollar sales at retail and are up 17.3 percent, representing almost 37 percent of all citrus sales for the last year, according to recent IRI Worldwide data. Mandarins also lead in pound sales, up just over 19 percent.
“The rise in popularity of mandarins follows along with consumer demand for healthy, convenient snacks,” Joan Wickham, manager of advertising and public relations for Sunkist, said in a press release. “Easy to peel and high in Vitamin C, mandarins fit the bill for healthy snacking and they are also juicy, sweet and delicious.”
Sunkist offers retailers multiple packaging and point-of-sale options to help retailers merchandise mandarins to continue driving sales and educate consumers about specialty mandarins varieties.
“Providing flavor profiles, nutrition information, recipes and usage tips encourages consumers to experiment and enjoy mandarins in multiple ways,” Julie DeWolf, director of retail marketing, said in the release.
Mandarins are also trending in foodservice channels, with operators showcasing the versatility of easy-peelers in applications such as adult beverages, salads, desserts and seafood appetizers. Clementines have shown a particularly strong increase on menus, with a nearly 40 percent spike over the past year, driven mainly by increased use in beverages.
“Mandarins are great for snacking, but they’re also wonderful as an ingredient — and increasing foodservice usage across meal parts demonstrates this,” added Wickham.
Sunkist offers Satsuma, Clementine, Royal, W. Murcott and Gold Nugget mandarin varieties from late October through June with multiple packaging options, including the beloved Sunkist Smiles brand.
Here is an overview of citrus imports arriving at US ports in the coming weeks and months. A significant trend is with sweet, easy-peel citrus ranging from clementines to Mandarins and Minneolas and others.
Chilean clementines – available from late May through August.
South African clementines – available from mid-June to July, and from Uruguay in May and June.
Australian late-season Mandarins -in late September through mid-October. From Chile and South Africa, they will be available from September through October.
Mandarins from Uruguay will be available July and August, and from Peru they will be available from mid-August through mid-September.
Australian Minneolas from Australia will be available from late August through September and from Peru from mid-July through August. Daisy Mandarins from Australia will be available in late June and July.
The vast majority of easy peelers and Navels produced in Chile are shipped to the U.S. market. Clementine imports from Chile should amount to 23,638 tons down slightly from last season. However, a large increase in Mandarin exports — from 30,096 tons to 43,338 tons is forecast. In total, the entire easy-peeler category is expected to grow by nearly 19 percent.
Mandarin exports to the US are showing strong growth — 44 percent — with heaviest volume arriving from mid-August through early November.
Chile exports citrus to the US from May through October; Clementines from May through August.
Late Mandarins from Chile are available from August through October.
The first conventional vessel of citrus from South Africa arrived at the port of Philadelphia on June 15 with about 3,800 pallets of easy peelers and Navel oranges Two additional vessels were scheduled to arrive by June 25 and July 6.
The detailed shipping plan from South Africa has conventional vessels arriving through October about every 10-12 days, based on market demand.
Container vessels with smaller volumes will arrive between to assure a steady supply of citrus.