Exports account for about 70% of Greene River Marketing Inc.’s sales, said Pat Rodgers, president.
Greene River began shipping to Japan and Europe in mid-October.
Rodgers said the European deal went well last year and said he thinks it should go well again this year.
“The European market is also seeing a good gap, so prices are going up there as well,” he said. “There is a lot of pent-up demand in the export markets this year. As long as Florida is the premier product over there as in Japan, there are other sources of fruit, but they will take second fiddle as we start shipping fruit over there.”
European demand remains high following smaller shipments of South African fruit and Florida’s later start, said Bill Jarvis, Premier’s director of sales and marketing and European sales manager.
“There’s not a lot of volume that usually is there this time of the year going through it,” Jarvis said in late October. “That’s a market that’s a little on the void side on grapefruit. I don’t think they will ever catch up with what their needs are and because of the canker restrictions they have.”
Korea and Taiwan remain other important markets for Florida-grown grapefruit.
Korea used to be a larger market and at one time imported as much as 600,000 boxes from the U.S., Richey said.
That market, however, sometimes swings to other commodities. One year the South Korean market went crazy for bananas, dampening citrus demand, he said.
This year may be different.
“Korea is growing,” Richey said. “We are anticipating a little more volume being sent there. The largest percentage of gains we anticipate this year will be in Korea. They are a bright spot on the horizon. Taiwan is growing as well.”
Richey said Taiwan’s consumers have been putting more bags of grapefruit in their shopping carts.