An early end to the California clementine deal could help increase demand for Chilean fruit, which should begin arriving in the U.S. in late May or early June, said James Milne, business development director for Vancouver, British Columbia-based The Oppenheimer Group.
“There’s a belief that California will clean up earlier than usual,” Milne said. “It was first thought they would go through May or early June.”
Demand should be particularly strong in June, but Milne expects a good summer overall.
“All indications are Chile should have a good run,” he said.
South African clementines will provide summer competition on the East Coast, Milne said.
On the West Coast, shipments of Australian easy-peelers could be limited by exchange rates and high input costs, he said.
Volumes could be down, particularly at the beginning of the deal, because of drought, but St. Laurent, Quebec-based Fisher Capespan Inc. still expects to grow its Chilean clementine deal this season, said Mark Greenberg, senior vice president of procurement.
Fisher Capespan looks forward to an empty pipeline when fruit begins shipping at the end of May, Greenberg said.
“We absolutely expect the market to be clear of easy peelers” when the Chilean clementine deal begins, he said. “People are pretty excited about the product.”
South African product will provide some North American competition for Chilean clementines when it begins shipping in June, Greenberg said.