Suhanra Conradie of Summer Citrus from South Africa Shares Valuable Lessons After 10 Years in Citrus
SOUTH AFRICA - There’s a pleasing sound to the number 10, one that is accompanied by notions of strength and constance. For Suhanra Conradie, Summer Citrus from South Africa’s (SCSA) preeminent CEO, 10 marks the number of citrus seasons she’s overseen since she stepped into the category. I spoke with her to learn about what has changed in citrus since she started and what lessons she’s learned along the way.
“Summer Citrus from South Africa has accomplished a lot on the supply chain and logistics side: reducing cold treatment/shipment period from 24 days to 22 days, which has resulted in fresher fruit on grocery shelves in the U.S.; securing shipments to the port of Houston, Texas, allowing access to service the Midwest and even some states on the West Coast; and moving toward a service provider for exporters in terms of quality standards, logistics, and supply chain aspects, as well as marketing and promotional efforts in the United States,” she explained to me.
Undoubtedly, SCSA has made industry-shaking moves within the sector, and Suhanra has seen her fair share of changes within it.
“The playing field has changed in many ways, but some things have also stayed the same. Our business has grown by 60 percent, and while bigger is not necessarily better, being able to watch and react on the market quickly by executing a business model of managing supply and demand is really crucial,” she noted. “The U.S. consumer is now used to year-round availability of almost any product, so it is very important to determine the window of opportunity for imported citrus. I am a strong believer in building successful and sustainable brands that have a certain look, feel, and commitment. I am proud to say we are selling a country with confidence. This is an area that I am very passionate about, and a lot of my energy goes into selling the grower to our audience. I believe in staying authentic, but being very aware of the audience.”
Throughout her career, Suhanra has been building an impressive platform of knowledge, which is why I wanted to ask her what lessons she found most valuable in her produce journey.
“In addition to the extensive knowledge I’ve learned since starting my career with SCSA, I’ve learned how to manage and handle an active commodity in a fast changing market. Being nimble and flexible with the ebbs and flows of this industry is key. I’ve also had the pleasure of meeting new people and building valuable relationships and friendships around the world. Networking is another large component of this industry,” she remarked.
Suhanra clued me in to three messages she’s come to live by:
- Don’t forget lessons learned
- Stay at the forefront of the market and try to predict where it is going
- Be innovative and try everything
“My personal goals are all about managing challenges, utilizing opportunities, and adapting to change quickly,” she concluded. “We’re continuing to build a brand with more confidence in the United States and garnering recognition through our organized business model and the way we operate. I want to leave a legacy for the future and service providers, retailers, and consumers to feel confident when they buy our product, as we sell the world’s finest Summer Citrus.”
As we continue to plumb the depths of produce knowledge with industry innovators like Suhanra, keep checking back in with AndNowUKnow.
Companies in this Story
Summer Citrus from South Africa
Summer Citrus from South Africa represents a group of 230 South African citrus growers who consolidate their logistics,...