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Chilean citrus season kicks off with clementines

Photo courtesy of the Chilean Citrus Committee.

April 27, 2022 – The Chilean Citrus Season kicked off in Week 15 as the first shipment of clementines set sail for the U.S. market.  As the largest citrus exporter in the Southern Hemisphere, Chile will be supplying clementines, mandarins, navels, and lemons to the U.S. market, with promotional support starting in June and continuing through October.

The current total Chilean Citrus forecast across categories is as follows:

  • Clementines: 45,000 tons
  • Mandarins: 120,000 tons
  • Navels: 90,000 tons
  • Lemons: 90,000 tons

Logistical and climatic issues have impacted overall volume, resulting in an anticipated 12% decrease from 2021.  Nonetheless, Juan Enrique Ortuzar, president of the Chilean Citrus Committee, remains optimistic about the industry’s future. “We are facing a challenging season in many respects, but citrus has grown into an incredibly strong, year-round category.  Chilean citrus volume has increased by 25% over the past five years. With our quality proposition, we believe there will continue to be growth opportunities.”

The U.S. received 88% of all Chilean citrus exports in 2021, with 97% of clementines and mandarins shipped to the U.S.  Volume will be lower this year (especially for clementines, where a volume decrease of 35% is anticipated), but the U.S. will continue to receive the majority of Chilean citrus exports.  To support this volume, the Citrus Committee is finalizing a robust marketing campaign that will help build demand and drive sales at the retail level.

Retail promotions will be the key focus for the Committee. According to Karen Brux, Managing Director of the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association, “This season, perhaps more than ever, it’s crucial that we work closely with the trade on flexible, targeted programs to drive sales.  Having encountered numerous logistical issues over the past year, we’ve learned how to implement flexible programs that can be turned on and off quickly.  The ability to be fast, nimble and creative will continue to be important during the citrus season.”

To this effect, the Citrus Committee is developing a new branded campaign that will include digital ads, influencer posts and virtual demos, as well as programs with shopping apps like Shopkick.  With the return of more and more in-store merchandising opportunities, the Committee will also implement in-store programs that highlight the superior taste, nutrition, and convenience of Chilean Citrus.  Weekly crop reports will be distributed to the trade starting from Week 19.