The Spanish citrus season is already in full swing and is traditionally approaching its peak in the pre-Christmas period. At the moment, lots of oranges, clementines and lemons are being sold at the German freshness centres. The Nuremberg citrus expert Enrique Pedros from the company of the same name is also currently fully into the Christmas business: "The market is currently experiencing a considerable bottleneck for all clementine varieties."
Enrique Pedros was visited at the wholesale market in February 2019 by FreshPlaza.
In Spain's major clementine growing regions, this year's harvest has been quite disappointing, Pedros said. As a result, yields are well below average. "There is even talk that the main variety Clemenules will soon be at an end. Usually this variety is available until January, but this year it will probably only be available until Christmas. However, I expect that we will still be able to fulfill the Christmas orders, although prices will inevitably rise," Pedros says. In purely qualitative terms, the quantity available for marketing has so far been outstanding.
Due to the low volume availability, clementine prices this year are somewhat higher than usual. Normal goods are traded at €1.20-1.50 per kg, extra goods at about €2.00 per kg. Compared to the previous year, there would be an additional price of €0.20 per kg, Pedros confirms.
Balanced orange market
In contrast to the clementine trade, the Spanish orange campaign is quite balanced. At present, the Navelina variety is mainly sold, with Navel oranges and Salustiana juice oranges being added later, or nearer Christmas. "The quality is good and as soon as volumes increase in the coming weeks, the price level will tend to fall," Pedros predicts.
Increasing demand for lemons, grapefruits remain a niche market
In addition to the main sellers -oranges and clementines- the experienced fruit merchant also offers its customers -mainly specialist retailers and restaurateurs- lemons and grapefruits from Spanish soil. "Priomofiore lemons are now used for Christmas cakes in pleasing quantities. We can already feel the larger demand."
Grapefruit, on the other hand, plays a subordinate role and remains a niche product in the fruit wholesale trade. Therefore, no advertising campaigns or special offers will be started around Christmas, Pedros adds. "There are enough goods to supply the market. We mainly market the red fleshy Star Ruby variety; there are hardly any other varieties. Normally we can offer these -from Spain- until February-March."
Nadorcott: Demand increasing from year to year
In Spanish citrus cultivation, new varieties and modern fruit varieties are tested every year and, depending on the result, these will ultimately be placed on the (export) market. "We see a growing demand for Nadorcott clementines in recent years. These easily peelable late varieties will come onto the market immediately after the Clemenules campaign or from January. This has allowed us to gradually extend the season," says Pedros. In the oranges range, new varieties such as Cara Cara play a subordinate role.