As Chile’s final arrivals of mandarins are starting to wind down, other parts of Southern Hemisphere citrus growing areas are preparing to ship to North America.
Terry Cook of Trucco Inc. in Vineland NJ says shipments of the W. Murcott mandarins from Chile will see reduced volume from now until the end of October. “It’s been a great summer and autumn for promoting mandarins,” says Cook. “You couldn’t ask for a better season from a consumer’s viewpoint, which was set up beautifully with good supplies and competitive pricing. Citrus has been in the spotlight ever since Covid-19 hit, and this summer’s mandarin volume has allowed retailers to promote often.”
Following shipments from Chile and arrivals from Peru and Uruguay which began late June, Cook notes that Trucco’s peak season for W. Murcotts was August with its heaviest volumes coming from Chile and Peru.
Rene Allende, a Chilean grower for Trucco Inc. shows off the mandarin crop.
Expanding its mandarin movement is something Trucco has been focusing on as a company. “We’ve always been known for our expertise as a kiwi marketer and now we’re carving out our niche in the citrus category. We feel the best way to increase our mandarin’s commodities’ presence is to use that same skill set that we have for our other programs,” says Cook, noting that Trucco ships from its 100,000 sq. ft. Vineland, NJ facility. “We look forward to doubling mandarins next season.”
This expansion makes the company now a year-round supplier of mandarins, limes and blueberries and Cook says it also plans to increase volumes on lemons and oranges and will continue with its focus on vertical integration to help doing so. “We feel growers and distributors must be part of the process — vertical integration if you will — working hand-in-hand from the growing process to the final commitment with retailers and others,” he says.
Part of that growth is dealing with challenges of the new commodity. “One of the biggest challenges with mandarins is sizing,” says Cook, adding that Trucco prides itself on quality and integrity. “It’s all about the flavor with mandarins so we need to educate consumers on how good the eating experience is on the smaller sized mandarins.”
As for pricing, last year the company had tight supplies all season with firm pricing. “This year, due to the increased volume coming into the U.S., pricing has been more flexible,” says Cook. “Traditionally, the next few weeks will bring a slow price increase and I see that being the case again this year.”