Overall exports of citrus from Chile is expected to rise 17% from 2017 volume, with mandarins, clementines and navel oranges up significantly. ( Courtesy Chilean Citrus Committee )

Crop prospects and promotion opportunities are looking up for Chilean citrus in 2018.

The Chilean Citrus Committee reported in a news release that water was abundant this year and recent weather has been favorable for crop development.

The committee forecasts that mandarin export volume is predicted to top 100,000 metric tons, up 32% from last year. Navel oranges are expected to reach nearly 85,000 metric tons for fresh export, up 12% from 2017. The committee said clementine export volume will approach 52,000, up 27% from a year ago.

Lemon export volume will reach 78,100 metric tons, up 1% from a year ago.

The committee said all exports of Chilean citrus may exceed 315,000 metric tons, 17% up from a year ago, when global fresh exports of Chilean citrus reached 270,000 metric tons.

The committee said availability of Chilean citrus is expected for these time frames:

  • Clementines: May to August
  • Mandarins: August to November
  • Navels: From June to September
  • Lemons: April to September


Promotion time

The Chilean Citrus Committee is also launching its largest marketing campaign to date this season with in-store and online retail promos through-out the U.S. and Canada.

Other campaign components include tradeshows and foodservice education, according to the release, and the promotions will go through October.

Karen Brux, the managing director for North America for the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association, said May 14 the group has three merchandisers who work with the produce trade throughout the U.S. and Canada.

“Last year was the first time we actually started marketing Chilean citrus in the Canadian market, and now we cover the entire U.S. and Canada with our merchandising support.”

Brux said the Chilean Citrus Committee has increased its focus and support of the North American market in 2018.

“It is a key market for the Chilean citrus industry,” she said, noting its importance for easy peelers, navels and lemons.

Brux said the primary focus of marketing efforts is retail promotions.

The Chilean association’s merchandisers work with retail buyers, merchandisers, dietitians and marketing staff, Brux said — everyone who plays a role in buying and promoting Chilean citrus.

“I think that is what helps us to be really effective because we connect all the dots within a retail organization,” he said.

Retail promotion efforts can include demos or display contests, and merchandisers also work with social media marketers for retailers to run promotions on Facebook.

“We can also work with in-store dietitians to do something extra in stores to communicate with their customers about Chilean citrus,” she said.

Merchandisers can also provide point of sale materials for retailers, and also can customize point of sale materials to suit the meet the needs of retailers.

“We are more than happy, in most cases, to design and produce something that will work within their chain,” she said. The taste, juiciness and convenience of easy peelers are key attributes in promotion materials.

Brux said the merchandising team also is in contact with all the importers to help determine what promotion opportunities are around the bend for Chilean navels, clementines, mandarins and lemons.

For example, retailers have typically embraced mandarin promotions in the back to school period in September and October.

Brux said there are promotion opportunities in September and October but also earlier in the season.

Social media marketing efforts include the use of short videos that feature usage ideas and images for Chilean citrus.

“We distribute (the links to the videos) to retailers and numerous chains who love all the (social media content) we provide and post them on their Facebook page. “It is really helpful in getting the word out about Chilean citrus,” he said.