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Brand names are important for mandarins

Rain a very welcome sight for California's mandarin growers

Recent rainfall has eased the production of mandarins in California. And with more rain in store over the coming week, it doesn't look like there will be a return to the vigorous growth seen earlier in the year in the near future. Growers are happy with the rain, which is bringing much needed moisture to the region.

"We're mainly seeing Murcotts and Tangos at this point in the season, about 90% of which are grown in the Central and San Joaquin Valleys," said Levon Ganajian of Trinity Fruit Sales. "The recent rains have been very good for growers. It has helped recharge the ground, as well as help with sizing up of the fruit. Production has slowed down now, but we still expect to finish the season a week or two short. We should still go through all of April."

Ganajian added that the slowdown in production is beneficial from a sales perspective, as it gives a chance to clear up inventory that has built up. "With the heat earlier this year, we were going through fruit off the trees very quickly," he said. "Sometimes a slowdown in harvest is a good thing in the context of the whole season. In this case, it provides an opportunity to clear out some of the inventory from the earlier boost in production and allows fruit to stay on the trees a little longer."

Market strong
The demand for mandarins has been very good, and despite the earlier fast production, supply has barely kept up. As a result, prices have also been high. 

"The market has been very good," Ganajian said. "As has demand which has kept up with production. Prices have subsequently been excellent. We have been selling a lot of Cutie mandarins this season and continue to see a high demand for this brand."

Brands important for mandarins
A trend has been noted that is pointing away from national brands and towards private brands. According to Ganajian, more and more produce items are going this way, however mandarins appear to be bucking this trend with the continued popularity of brands like Cuties and Halos.

"Brand names mean a lot when it comes to mandarins," he said. "They stick in people's mind and resonate with them. Retailers have been saying that these brands matter on mandarins more than any other produce item, which is contrary to the general shift we have observed over the last few years. In general we are seeing a lot of commodities shifting to private labels, with more requests for them every year. With mandarins, however, we are not seeing that shift occur so much."

For more information:
Levon Ganajian
Trinity Fruit Sales
Tel: +1 (623) 266-7297

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