Fruits from Chile Announces Start of Chilean Citrus Season
CHILE - With the Chilean citrus season preparing for takeoff, the Chilean Citrus Committee of ASOEX has released its initial forecast for the 2021 season. The committee has announced that it is estimating a six percent increase in citrus exports, including navels, lemons, clementines, and mandarins. Chile expects to ship almost 85 percent of the forecasted 387,000-ton volume to the U.S. market.
“Last year’s rain in the central region replenished reservoirs and helped boost production. Growing conditions have been ideal for developing good brix and sizing, while cool nights will give easy peelers and navels a brilliant orange color,” explained Juan Enrique Ortúzar, President of the Chilean Citrus Committee, in regard to this year’s favorable weather conditions and its positive impact on crops.
With weather patterns bolstering the quality, this season’s growth will be driven by the easy peeler category, including clementines and mandarins, as it has in previous seasons. According to a press release, there is expected to be a seven percent increase for clementines, rising to 55,000 tons, and an 11 percent increase for mandarins, bringing the category up to 145,000 tons. The mandarin category is estimated to see double-digit growth in 2021 following a 40 percent volume jump in 2020.
In addition to easy peelers, lemons, of which 60 percent will be shipped to the U.S., are also anticipated to see a three percent increase. Meanwhile, Navel volume will remain relatively steady at 89,000 tons. Overall, the citrus category as a whole is seeing an increase in volume primarily due to the expansion of plantings throughout the last decade, resulting in 55,105 acres of citrus in Chile.
As consumer habits have changed, so too has the retail strategy for the Citrus Committee, as it moved completely online in 2020 due to COVID-19.
“We partnered with nearly 50 retail chains last season, employing such tactics as digital coupons, web sliders, banner ads, retail-tagged videos, and social media programs. Not only were these strategies highly effective in driving sales, they were also powerful in reaching millions of shoppers with citrus nutrition and usage information,” said Karen Brux, Managing Director of the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association. “We’re continually monitoring retail and consumer shifts so that we can provide the best support, both for the Chilean citrus growers and exporters and our partners in North America.”
The committee will expand upon its promotions in 2021, planning to add new e-commerce initiatives. In-store merchandising support will also be made available to retailers looking to feature in-person displays.
As the season approaches, clementine shipments are expected to begin Week 15, while lemons will start around Week 18.
For more updates on imports and exports across fresh produce, keep reading AndNowUKnow.