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Plenty of promotional opportunities for Chilean citrus

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Chile’s first 2015 shipment of Navel oranges to the United States departed from the port of San Antonio during the week of June 8 with a total of 11,200 boxes destined for the U.S. market.

While volume shipped year to date is somewhat lower than the same time last year, weekly shipment volumes are expected to increase quickly over the coming weeks as new orchards are harvested — and mild weather is presenting ideal conditions for picking.

The Chilean Citrus Committee anticipates 8 percent growth in global export volumes this year, with over 90 percent of volume destined for the U.S. market.

Juan Enrique Ortuzar, chairman of the Chilean Citrus Committee, explained in a June 15 press release, “This year we expect a smooth supply of Navels from the early part of the season to be present in the market from late June through early November. Mild climatic conditions have been positive for both eating quality and harvesting conditions, and we look forward to providing the U.S. with the high-quality Navels they have come to expect from Chile.”

The citrus committee is supported by a team of U.S.-based merchandisers who are working with retailers across the United States on tailored promotional support.

Karen Brux, North America managing director for the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association, said the CFFA is committed to providing retailers with the support they need.

“While this could be a Facebook contest for one retailer, it might be a merchandising contest for another chain and partner demos with yet another,” said Brux. “We do whatever is most effective in supporting retailers and encouraging their customers to buy Chilean citrus throughout our season.”

Chile supplies citrus to the United States from May through October. Clementines run from May through August. Late Mandarin movement is from August through October, and Navels are supplied from June through October. Key months for Chilean lemons into the United States are June through August.

Chile has become a key supplier to the U.S. during the domestic citrus off-season.

Brux explained that on easy peelers, 54 percent of imports between May and October come from Chile. On Navels, 43 percent of imports from May to October come from Chile, and 31 percent of lemons. The vast majority of all Chilean citrus exports go to North America.

“North America is, by far, the largest export market for Chilean citrus,” said Brux. “Chile enjoys a privileged position to supply this market. Because of its phytosanitary situation — surrounded on all sides by natural borders — Chilean citrus does not require cold sterilization treatments. The fruit is therefore shipped at its optimum temperature and not subject to any conditions that may affect quality.”