U.S. demand for Chilean navel oranges has been robust since the season started, and the market continues to demonstrate high sales momentum as September progresses. As of Week 35, Chile had shipped 70,373 tons of navel oranges (95% of its total orange volume) to North America.
IRI has reported huge ongoing weekly increases in orange sales vs. same week last year, with many weeks showing sales increases of more than fifty percent. Juan Enrique Ortúzar, president of the Chilean Citrus Committee, believes that changing consumer preferences have impacted navel movement this season. He comments, “Now more than ever, consumers are looking for fresh, healthy foods, and seeking out fruits that are high in Vitamin C. Navel oranges are a natural go-to.”
Even the New York Times highlighted oranges in their September 9 article titled 7 Ways the Pandemic Has Changed The Way We Shop For Food, saying that “Orange is the new snack."
The Chilean Citrus Committee has shifted the bulk of their consumer and retail promotions online, with a strong focus on health benefits and easy usage ideas. Comments Karen Brux, Managing Director of the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association, “Millions of Americans are working from home, going to school from home and cooking more meals than ever at home. People are looking for nutritious and convenient meal and snack ideas, so we’ve responded with some tips that will hopefully make their days just a little bit easier and healthier.”
The Committee is working with numerous retailers to communicate the health benefits of navel oranges, and how they support a strong immune system. They've also partnered with online grocery services and recipe websites to reach millions of shoppers with easy recipes and ideas for everything from grilling to zesting to juicing.
Chilean orange harvests are nearing completion, with shipments wrapping up over the next few weeks. As mandarin exports ramp up, retailers will be shifting their promotion focus to this category, which is anticipating double digit growth in 2020. Mandarin promotion programs with run through early November.