“Peruvian citrus exporters are not afraid of competition,” said Fernando Cilloniz, general manager of data analyst Inform@ccion, Lima.
“They are certain of good color, flavor and the quality of their product.”
Mark Greenberg, vice president of procurement for Fisher Capespan, said American consumers are accustomed to the gold standard of California navels, making it that much harder for citrus importers to compete.
“Growing conditions make it more difficult to achieve the color required for the U.S.,” he said of Peru.
Greenberg said Peru strategically ships its produce to avoid the onset of preferred Chilean produce.
“The Peruvians, knowing that the Chilean clementines are going to start shipping and knowing that this market prefers clementines to satsumas, will usually direct to more traditional satsuma markets,” he said.
Greenberg said the mild flavor, lower acid and sugar levels of satsumas make them hard to compete with clementines.
“Clementines are a much punchier tasting piece of fruit: higher acids, higher sugars — their flavor is more amenable to the North American palette,” he said.
“The satsuma will do well when other soft citrus are not available.”
Greenberg said although the clementines are preferred, that does not necessarily mean they must be sourced from Chile.
“From what we have received from Peru, the clementines are excellent,” he said. “The key is not to oversupply a market. That’s what we are trying to do with the minneolas … build on the market each year.”