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Imported from Spain
Canadians show increased interest for stem & leaf clementines and persimmons
Which produce items are gaining popularity? Although not necessarily an exotic and new item, George Pitsikoulis with Canadawide shares that there is more and more focus on the citrus category. “This season, Chile had a very delayed grape start and when California was at the tail-end of its season last month, citrus seemed to fill the supply gap of grapes,” shared Pitsikoulis.
Stem and leaf clementines are natural
Stem and leaf clementines in particular seem to be up and coming. “Consumers are attracted by the feeling of freshness and the fact that they are natural,” Pitsikoulis said. “Clementines without leaves can be subjected to ethylene to boost color. With stem and leaf clementines however, the leaves would get affected. As a result, the leaves guarantee the consumer a natural product. It’s a fresh, juicy and sweet clementine that eats really well,” he added.
“We’ve been carrying stem and leaf clementines from Spain for over 30 years. It always used to be a slow growth item that came in as a premium. Recently, we are receiving more shipments and there are more promotional opportunities. Although California is a significant grower of clementines as well, it is cheaper to import them from Spain and Morocco as supplies over there are more plentiful. California receives a large premium as they are behind in supply catching up with demand.”
California persimmons compete with Spain
Pitsikoulis has also noticed persimmons (kakis) becoming more popular as the years go by. The market used to be dominated by product from California, but more recently the Vanilla variety from Spain has recorded a significant increase in demand. Supply of the two growing regions overlaps a bit; California’s season runs from September through December while the Spanish season starts mid-November and continues until mid-January. “As soon as the Spanish season starts, it slows down demand for persimmons from California,” Pitsikoulis mentioned. “It makes it more difficult to sell California fruit when Spain is in season.”
Mollar pomegranate variety
The third item that seems to be gaining in popularity is another fruit variety from Spain; the Mollar pomegranate variety. Although California has significant production of the Wonderful variety, the sweet edible seeds of the Mollar variety set this variety apart. The seed inside the aril is chewable and digestible. This particular variety only grows well in some regions in Spain and is available from October through January.
Fruit from Spain and Morocco doesn’t need a treatment before it enters Canada. “There is not much of a domestic market to protect,” finished Pitsikoulis.
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