Citrus Market Tightens Amidst Spring Rains and High Demand
- by Melissa De Leon Chavez
CALIFORNIA - If our personal world reflects the one outside of it, consumers are now acutely aware of how fresh produce can serve as nature’s medicine. And the one everyone seems most aware of is citrus.
Between this awareness and significant late spring showers, the category has become highly sought after.
“Citrus, in general, is tight,” Alex Teague, COO of Limoneira, shared, explaining that the company is seeing this tightening effect on the retail side of business due to not just COVID-19, but to rain as well. Additionally, he added, “Lemons to foodservice are down pretty significantly due to the COVID-19 crisis. At Limoneira, we’re ensuring that our customers get what they need, and we’re thankful for all of our dedicated employees at this important time.”
It seems Mother Nature is showing in spades what she is capable of, but the industry and those it serves are rising to meet her.
“As the situation around COVID-19 continues to evolve, we have been listening to our customers and responding to their needs. We’ve seen firsthand how our customers and their hardworking teams have been on the frontlines and caring for our communities. As you know, they’ve been keeping stores stocked and clean, and their employees and guests healthy and safe. We’re so thankful for all that they are doing,” said Christina Ward, Director of Global Brand Marketing, Sunkist Growers.
Christina agreed that, while recent rains are obviously good for growing conditions, the weather has played a role in the harvesting schedule. As a result, the market is compounded with a sudden spike in demand for citrus and a slight delay in picking, but she assures me that Sunkist supply is there and the team continues to grow, pick, pack, and ship its citrus to do its part.
“Naturally, this time of year we see consumers gravitating to our fruit because of all the nutritious benefits, including vitamin C. And if refrigerated and stored properly, fresh citrus can last up to four weeks. For many reasons, the current situation has consumers stocking up,” she said.
Bee Sweet Citrus Sales Representative Jason Sadoian shared that the grower is focusing on being the best partner it can be during challenges that might be presented at this time.
“Right now, we are encouraging our retail partners to plan ahead and pay close attention to current trends to see if more bags are profitable to stock versus bulk items. With increasing pressure being placed on buyers and sellers, the industry needs to unify and work together to ensure that we are meeting nationwide demand for citrus,” he emphasized.
As the current state keeps immunal fortitude at the forefront of consumers’ minds, it looks like our industry is working tirelessly to ensure nature’s medicine stays in supply.