The Chilean clementine season has begun. ( Chilean Citrus Committee )

Chilean clementines are on the water and Chile’s summer citrus season has begun.

As of May 2, the Chilean citrus industry reported 55,268 boxes of clementines were headed for the U.S. East Coast and 16,503 boxes were on their way to the West Coast, according to a news release. The clementines will be followed by lemons, navels and mandarins, industry sources said.

Volumes of Chilean citrus shipped to the U.S. will be similar to a year ago, according to the Chilean Citrus Committee.

Total volume headed to North America this season is expected near 350,000 metric tons, compared with 358,000 metric tons in 2018, according to the release.

Clementine volume is forecast to fall 8% to 58,000 metric tons.

“In 2018, Chilean clementine production jumped 53%,” Juan Enrique Ortuzar, president of the Chilean Citrus Committee, said in the release. “After a year of high production, blooms tend to be less intense, so this reduction in volume is not a surprise.”

Long term, Chilean clementine volume has been on the upswing to North America, with this year’s estimate of 58,000 metric tons up 43% from 40,687 metric tons in 2017.

Expectations strong

Good weather and ideal growing conditions, according to the release, have set up good brix and sizing for Chilean clementines.

While Chile is facing higher than usual stock levels of clementines in the U.S. market, the release said the Chilean Citrus Committee is confident that consistently high-quality fruit and strong marketing support will drive sales in North America.

The Chilean Citrus Committee is using in-store and online promotions, and will be promoting throug Fruits from Chile social media channels, according to the release.

“In 2018, we ran citrus promotions in more than 50 retail chains, with a strong focus on creative, high-impact promotions that generated double digit sales increases,” Karen Brux, managing director of the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association, said in the release. “We hope to extend our reach even further this season.” she said.

The campaign will engage social media followers with videos direct from Chilean citrus orchards, new recipes and interactive promotions. She said in the release that Chilean citrus has a Facebook following of 350,000.

The Chilean Citrus Committee will be providing weekly updates on the citrus season, with more detailed information on lemons, navels and mandarins as shipments of these fruits begin.

 

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