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Sunkist Grower's Christina Ward Details Summer Citrus Program

Sunkist Grower's Christina Ward Details Summer Citrus Program



VALENCIA, CA - Lemons, grapefruit, and oranges, oh my! Shoppers will be skipping through the produce aisle singing this phrase, because Sunkist’s summer citrus program has arrived. The cooperative is picking, packing, and shipping conventional Meyer and organic lemons and recently kicked off its season for California Star Ruby grapefruit and Valencia oranges.

Christina Ward, Senior Director of Global Marketing, Sunkist GrowersThe nutritious and delicious California grapefruit is off to a good start with promotable volumes. Sunkist California Star Ruby grapefruit is available from April through early July, with peak availability now. Marsh Ruby grapefruit will come into play in July, taking us into October,” said Christina Ward, Senior Director of Global Marketing. “The only U.S.-grown orange in the summer months is the Valencia orange, which is why we call it ‘The Official Orange of American Summers’ or ‘The California Summer Orange.’ Sunkist Valencia oranges are the perfect balance of sweet and tart and ideal for juicing.”

Sunkist citrus is produced across multiple growing regions in California and Arizona. Water availability and the cost of water, alongside the ongoing supply chain pressure, are reportedly Sunkist’s biggest challenges this summer. However, Christina relayed that weather has been favorable, resulting in crops with excellent eating quality and fruit condition.

Sunkist Growers kicked off its summer citrus program with the availability of several varieties, including conventional Meyer and organic lemons, California Star Ruby grapefruit, and Valencia oranges

“Overall, we have a healthy supply of California-grown Sunkist lemons. Typically, lemons see stronger pricing in the summer months due to increased demand and diminished supplies," Christina said. "This year, with increased production levels in all growing areas, better supplies, and demand not back to pre-pandemic levels, we can expect moderate pricing through the summer period. Mother Nature is always the ultimate deciding factor of where our citrus crops go at any given time.”

With promotable volumes of Sunkist lemons, California grapefruit, and Valencia oranges, Sunkist is able to deliver a strong summer citrus program to retail and foodservice customers to further grow the category.

With promotable volumes of Sunkist lemons, California grapefruit, and Valencia oranges, the cooperative is complementing promotional plans with relevant and customizable shopper marketing strategies

“Our category management team—led by Cassie Howard—includes shopper insights, which play a vital role in developing relevant and customizable shopper marketing strategies,” Christina told me. “We create highly targeted programs that help our customers reach new, loyal, and lapsed shoppers where they want to buy.”

Christina also noted that according to an IRI Produce update in April 2022, the average United States household still makes nearly 80 percent of their meals at home, and lemons specifically were purchased primarily for a recipe. Sunkist’s research also shows that healthy eating is still top of mind for consumers—40 percent of citrus shoppers are trying to eat healthier and 35 percent are focused on getting more vitamin C.

The Valencia orange is often called ‘The Official Orange of American Summers’ or ‘The California Summer Orange,’ as it is the only U.S.-grown orange in the summer months

Organics, of course, are also top of mind for present-day consumers. While Sunkist has been around for almost 130 years, the grower has been a proud provider of USDA-certified organic citrus for over 15 years.

Are you ready to welcome Sunkist citrus to your produce department? Trust me, your shoppers will not be disappointed.

Sunkist Growers



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Sunkist®

Sunkist is an agricultural cooperative entirely owned by and operated for the California and Arizona citrus growers who...