( Courtesy Summer Citrus from South Africa )

Summer Citrus from South Africa continues its successful consumer targeted promotions this season, while importers find their own marketing methods.

Suhanra Conradie, CEO of Summer Citrus from South Africa, said the group promotes its citrus throughout the year, not just during the summer season when fruit can be found at retail.

“We invest in consumer marketing throughout the year to educate consumers about Summer Citrus from South Africa so that they look forward to the season,” she said.

Conradie said she uses social media, consumer promotions, work with influencers, and public relations “to inspire people to choose our brand because it is consistent with the quality eating standards they are used to during U.S. growing seasons.”

She said Summer Citrus from South Africa has heard from retail customers that they notice the group operates differently from other export groups.

Conradie said it’s the way they manage supply and demand with a select group of importers.

Meanwhile, Gray Vinson, South African citrus commodity manager for Seald Sweet LLC, Vero Beach, Fla., said U.S. consumer demand rises every year for clementines.

“By 2020, South Africa will have 20% to 40% more late mandarins to offer,” he said.

He said Seald Sweet has had success in retail with its Mandarina’s Sweet Mandarins brand.

Alex Teague, chief operating officer of Limoneira Co., Santa Paula, Calif., said his company focuses on the citrus’ nutritional benefits and ease of use in recipes as well as health benefits.

But one importer said it gets harder to market the crop as the season progresses.

“South African citrus really markets itself” in early summer, said Miles Fraser-Jones, director of global business development for Seven Seas’ New Jersey office, a subsidiary of Tom Lange Cos.

However, after having a strong market position in June and early July, South African imports compete with South American citrus by late July and then heavy domestic summer fruit in August, he said.

“Our program also carries Chile and Peru (citrus) to be a consistent supplier,” Fraser-Jones said. “In August we compete with summer fruit, and that’s a tough market.”

He said Seven Seas runs more aggressive promotions in August with retailers to keep demand up.