Spanish clementines running about a week late

10/15/2008 12:00:00 AM
Andy Nelson

DNE World Fruit Sales, Fort Pierce, Fla., marketer of clementines under the Ocean Spray brand, expects to begin bringing in Spanish clementines Nov. 3, about a week later than usual, says John Lazopoulos, DNE's Spanish and Moroccan import manager.

(Oct. 15, 12:11 p.m.) Demand is expected to be strong, with prices possibly in the $5.50-6 range, when Spanish clementines begin shipping in the U.S. in late October or early November.

DNE World Fruit Sales, Fort Pierce, Fla., which markets clementines under the Ocean Spray brand, expects to begin bringing in fruit Nov. 3, with volumes light at the beginning, then gradually ramping up in time for the Thanksgiving pull, said John Lazopoulos, the company’s Spanish and Moroccan import manager.

Shipments will be arriving about a week later than usual, Lazopoulos said.

Seald Sweet International, Vero Beach, Fla., expects to begin bringing in some containers in mid- to late-October, with the first vessel arriving in early November, said David Mixon, senior vice president and chief marketing officer.

While labor, freight, material and other production costs are up 10% to 20%, the exchange rate seems to be improving, and overall, DNE’s export partners in Spain are expecting a strong North American program this year.

DNE was late setting prices this season, but Lazopoulos said $5.50-6 was a good guess for early shipments.

“We’re pretty excited,” Lazopoulos said. “We’ve had a lot of interest in Thanksgiving promotions.”

Mixon also looked forward to a strong season.

“There look to be very marketable volumes coming into the states,” he said.

Both Mixon and Lazopoulos expected similar volumes as last year.

With the late start, the Spanish deal will get underway about the same time as the California clementine deal, Lazopoulos said. But he doesn’t expect that to be a problem.

“No disrespect to California, but a lot of chains still prefer to get Spanish clementines,” he said. “That window of 13-14 weeks is still there, and it’s not going away.”

Because of high fuel costs, California product may be more likely than in the past to stay west of the Mississippi this year, Mixon said.

Mixon reported overall very good quality on early fruit, with fruit exhibiting good maturity and external appearance.

Sizing is expected to be small early in the deal, increasing as Thanksgiving nears, Lazopoulos said. Early reports suggested good quality this year, with no major weather events.

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