The season for Meyer lemons in California is progressing along well, with growers saying that favorable weather is producing a strong fruit set, albeit with sizes smaller than average. The bulk of the volume is coming out of District 1 currently, which encompasses the Central Valley.
"District 1 began in late October and we expect to have fruit from here until at least the end of March," said Joel Gonzalez of Mountain View Fruit Sales. "District 2, which includes Ventura County and the coastal regions, has the capacity to produce Meyer lemons year round, but the lion's share of the volume is coming from District 1 currently."
"Supplies have been very good this year, although the size profile is a little smaller than average," he continued. "The trees had an extended bloom period which resulted in a heavier fruit set."
Good timing for promotions
With the solid fruit set and good, steady supplies entering the market, suppliers are highlighting the favorable promotional environment. According to Gonzalez, the post-holiday period is a great time to promote for healthy eating trends in the New Year.
"The market for Meyer lemons is currently steady," he observed. "We have a lot of programs going on at the moment and there are excellent opportunities for promotions in the next month and a half. There is plenty of fruit out there with new acreage from some growers in the industry. With the abundance of fruit, prices are a little softer although they are mostly steady and not suffering as much as mandarins or Navel oranges."
1lb pouch bag is an ideal packaging option for Meyer lemons
Suppliers note that the 1lb pouch bag is a popular packaging option for customers and retailers alike. Gonzalez explained that Meyer lemons are one of the many products that are typically presented to buyers in this package style, giving an opportunity to educate consumers about the fruit. "The 1lb pouch bag continues to be the industry standard. It presents well at retail and tells a lot about the fruit. In years' past, there has been a lack of education as to what Meyer lemons are and how to use them. The pouch bags help to present this information, including recipes. It also helps to tie-in with social media platforms."
Gonzalez concluded by stating there are still plenty of opportunities to build the Meyer lemon category. "This season, retailers have a great chance to adequately promote Meyer lemons," he said. "They really are an underappreciated fruit, with great potential to grow. In the foodservice sector, there is a steady but small demand in desserts, but there is a good opportunity for more growth."