After a few difficult months due to the interruption of the activity of the horeca channel in Europe due to the pandemic, the exotic citrus market has reactivated in parallel with the gradual recovery of restaurants and caterers.
Pedro Juárez, commercial director of Nalans Citrus.
"The finger lime campaign started in Spain in mid-July," says Pedro Juárez, commercial director of the Spanish company Nalans Citrus, specialized in this citrus segment. “After a difficult start due to the situation, we are now recovering our activity, supplying our customers on a weekly basis. The demand has been restored in the UK and the Netherlands, while in France it is gradually picking up," he says.
Gourmet products, such as finger lime or citrus caviar, were not only affected by the closure of European restaurants, as “during the months of the health crisis, supermarkets and retailers focused on commodity products, like conventional citrus fruits, leaving specialties aside,” says Juárez.
Finger limes from Nalans Citrus.
"However, we have been noticing an increase in the demand in September. Our goal is to enrich our gastronomy, so we are currently offering citrus fruits such as yuzu, sudachi or Buddha's Hand. One of our pillars is innovation, so we will continue to offer unique specialties. More importantly, we will continue to contribute to showing consumers how to enjoy these specialties," he says.
Nalans Citrus markets and exports mostly products of national origin. “Our sustainability policy has led us to work with national specialties in order to reduce the carbon footprint, always offering zero waste or organic products in 100% recyclable and plastic-free packaging. Supermarkets not only demand excellent quality, but are also starting to show interest in other forms of added value, such as sustainability,” says Juárez. This season, the company will supply citrus caviar from its growing areas in the Region of Murcia and the Region of Valencia until December.
Sudachi and Buddha's Hand
"Production has grown too quickly"
In recent years, exotic citrus fruits have grown in popularity and become established as creative ingredients in the restaurant segment, with finger lime as one of the most popular niche varieties. However, their boom and high profitability have led to a rapid expansion of their production, causing a mismatch in the market balance.
"The supply of citrus caviar has grown a lot in a short time in countries around the world, such as Australia, Guatemala or the United States, and now we are facing a problem, as the production is greater than the demand," says the commercial director. “There has come a time when the demand continues to grow, but not so quickly, so the market will eventually have to stabilize, as we have seen with other specialties throughout history. In any case, I have no doubt that citrus caviar still has a lot to offer to continue enriching our gastronomy.”