Sunkist's Joan Wickham Shares What's New During Peak Citrus Season
VALENCIA, CA - “We are heading into peak citrus season right now, and quality is fantastic. We’re very optimistic about the season ahead,” Joan Wickham, Manager, Advertising and Public Relations, for Sunkist Growers tells me as we talk about the array of citrus offerings for the retail and foodservice community.
Sunkist is looking at a strong season this coming year, with increased organic acreage coming into production and a larger Meyer lemon and Cara Cara crop – varieties that are quickly growing in consumer demand.
Currently, the company is harvesting citrus in all three of its growing districts from the San Joaquin Valley and Ventura County to the desert region/Coachella Valley.
“We are harvesting all our full lemon portfolio right now, including conventional, organic, seedless, Meyer and Zebra pink variegated. We’re also shipping Navel oranges, a holiday favorite, as well as Satsuma mandarins, Fairchild tangerines, pummelos and Oro Blancos a.k.a. Sweeties,” Joan adds.
In addition to those California-Arizona crops, Sunkist is offering Texas Rio Red grapefruit and Florida Red and Dark Red Grapefruit.
Education is key when it comes to promoting newer citrus varieties that consumers may not be familiar with. Joan tells me, “Sunkist offers retailers many tools to promote the unique attributes of citrus varieties, along with usage ideas and recipes. Sunkist is able to provide this valuable educational information on its point-of-sale materials and now, due to new printing capabilities, we can customize bins and other point-of-sale materials with a one week lead-time, allowing retailers to quickly execute promotional programs in a way that fits their store’s unique formats and needs.”
Sampling is another great way to excite consumers about each variety, allowing them to actually taste what makes that type of citrus so unique while also engaging consumers with someone in-store, who can offer recipe and usage ideas.
Cara Cara Navel oranges, blood oranges and Orlando tangelos will begin shipping in the next couple weeks and presenting great flavor profiles for the company.
“Citrus is on trend and in-demand, and what’s particularly exciting for us at Sunkist is the growing demand for specialty varieties such as Cara Cara Navel oranges, Meyer lemons, blood oranges and pummelos,” Joan says. “And of course, easy-peelers continue to build in demand due to their convenience and great taste.”
When I ask Joan what Sunkist expects as we move further into the holiday season, she shares that citrus has always been a quintessential holiday item – just think of the classic orange in stockings.
However, in the foodie, Pinterest-influenced culture we live in, Sunkist is also currently promoting the versatility of citrus when it comes to holiday entertaining – from décor, DIY beauty, cooking, mixology, healthy snacking and even cleaning.
“There is truly a place for citrus throughout holiday preparation and festivities,” Joan says.
Sunkist continues to grow its market share across multiple citrus categories, and as the season moves into the New Year, stay tuned for more news and updates from AndNowUKnow.