Differentiating one product from the next in a flooded fresh fruit market is the best way to ensure long-term sustainability. But in the early 2000s, branding and marketing a specific fruit cultivar sometimes seemed far-fetched.
It was then that Citrogold, a company in the ANB Investments group involved with identifying, evaluating, developing and commercialising new citrus cultivars, procured the South Africa cultivar rights for the Moroccan-developed Nadorcott mandarin.
Abs van Rooyen, CEO of ANB Investments, the holding company for ClemenGold and a former director of Citrogold, worked particularly hard to convince farmers to buy into the concept of a closed- cultivar mandarin that would be marketed independently.
With a nursery full of trees ready to be planted and no one buying into the idea, he resolved to establish his own Nadorcott orchards and prove the quality of the cultivar. And certainly, his persistence paid off. Today, in addition to his own ClemenGold-producing farms, there are more than 100 growers producing these mandarins, several for the ClemenGold brand.
Branding of cultivars
The concept of citrus cultivar branding is gaining momentum. Recently, Outspan launched its Outspan Gem brand to compete in this segment of the market. Marius du Plessis, CEO of ClemenGold, stresses that consistent application of quality standards is crucial to success: “Factors such as colour, flavour, taste, acidity, sugar and seed levels must always be within a certain range. A brand should give the consumer the assurance that their eating experience is the same every time.”