Fruits From Chile Sees First Citrus Shipment to U.S., Expects Increases to Volume
- by Laura Hillen
CHILE - Consumers in the U.S. are about to be treated to fruit fresh from Chilean orchards. Fruits From Chile, or the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association, has marked that its first 2017 shipment has embarked on its journey to U.S. shores a week earlier than normal. Now that the official start of the Chilean citrus season has begun, the company expects a total citrus volume increase of 3 percent over last year.
This year, the Chilean Citrus Committee will focus on expanding its marketing program from the U.S. into Canada, according to a press release. To achieve this, the Committee is working with a Toronto-based merchandiser to grow the Eastern Canadian market, while retaining a primary focus on the U.S. Programs targeting lemons, easy peelers, and navels are the point of focus on retailer discussions across the country.
“Chile is the largest exporter of navels and easy peelers to North America, and we offer a consistently great tasting piece of fruit to retailers and their customers,” stated Karen Brux, Managing Director, Chilean Fresh Fruit Association. “We’re thrilled that the Chilean citrus industry is continuing to strengthen its marketing investment, so we can get our citrus, whether lemons, easy peelers, or navels, into more shopping carts.”
The company noted that its season has begun with a shipment of clementines, that departed from the Port of Valparaiso during Week 15, one week earlier than last season. That shipment includes 191 tons, or 12,260 boxes, of clementines to arrive on U.S. shores–with 89 percent going to the East Coast. That number also includes 121 tons, or 7,940 boxes, of Oronules; and 70 tons, or 4,320 boxes, of Clemenules.
Fruits From Chile expects its clementine volume to be slightly less than 2016. The company expects roughly 42,000 tons of clementines to be exported between April and July from Chile. Just like last year, 99 percent of all Chilean clementines will find their way to North American shores. Clementine shipments will wind down around July.
Chile is also offering a robust citrus program that includes mandarins, lemons, and navel oranges. The Chilean Citrus Committee anticipates good sizing and flavorful, juicy fruit due to the favorable autumn temperatures and rainfall. The timeframe for these items is expected as follows:
- Mandarins: to ramp up in July as clementines wind down, concentrated in August-September.
- Navel oranges: available from June to October
- Lemons: longest season, May through October.
While the total citrus volumes have risen from 247,363 tons in 2016 to the expected 256,000 tons for 2017, the company expects the biggest increase for mandarins. The segment saw a 22 percent volume increase last year, with a 26 percent increase expected this year from 53,000 tons to 67,000, according to the Chilean Citrus Committee. Nearly all of the Chilean mandarins are destined for North America.
“In 2014, Chile’s mandarin volume was around 27,000 tons. Here we are in 2017, just three years later, and we expect to ship 67,000 tons,” said Juan Enrique Ortuzar, Chairman, Chilean Citrus Committee. “This growth is phenomenal, and in direct response to strong demand from our customers in North America. We believe there are still more growth opportunities, and the Chilean Citrus Committee remains committed to supporting market development.”
This season’s marketing program will be launched during this week's CPMA convention in Toronto, and The West Coast Produce Expo in Palm Springs. The Committee will also engage in extensive online marketing campaign.
Fruits from Chile expects its citrus season to run through October.