There are orchards north of the "Sea of Galilee" and spread along the Hula Valley in Israel, that have different growing conditions. “This 'Red Premium' grapefruit has different, better natural parameters than the average Israeli red grapefruit, just because of the location where they grow,” says Yosi Knop, Galilee Export’s citrus marketing manager.
This company recently introduced this variety as 'Red Premium' grapefruit. It looks similar to other red grapefruits, inside and out. “But when you put it in your mouth, it’s totally different. It has a luxurious mouthfeel. You have a flavor explosion in your mouth. It’s delicious.” That’s because of its higher Ratio (+7.5 to 10) & Brix levels (10 - 14, compared to other grapefruits’ levels of between 6 and 7) & +45% to 55% juice content.
“This is a high-quality segment grapefruit that really stands out,” Knop says. This citrus variety grows between the northern areas of the Sea of Galilee at 200m below sea level, and the Hula Valley is 50-150m above sea level.
Fluctuating temperatures make all the difference
This valley region is very unique, it has significantly high summer temperatures, providing ideal climate conditions and benefits for the grapefruit. There is also a considerable difference between day and nighttime temperatures. “These temperature differences aren’t found in other areas where grapefruit are grown in Israel,” says Yosi.
How does this Red Premium compare to the Florida grapefruit, which is also a high-quality product? “The Florida grapefruit is the market leader, not only price-wise also their quality is always impressive. However it’s tricky to compare our Red Premium to the Florida variety which is Pink,” Knop says. “Our Red Premium offers a different grapefruit experience.”
This Red Premium grapefruit season starts a little later than other Israeli varieties. It begins in November and runs until April/May. “We pick this citrus variety for this brand from specific orchards only. The Red Premium label is made up wholly of fruit from the particular, unique cultivation areas mentioned.”
For this brand-new brand, Galilee first established that it would be packed using the highest quality standard. “When the packers pack this Red Premium brand, they take extra measures,” explains Yosi. The packaging - a telescopic box and an open box - are new and innovative.
“We launched the brand in December. Talk about bad timing - COVID-19, lockdowns, holidays. However, our representatives in the Netherlands and France got fantastic feedback from each client that tasted this brand. So, now, only a month and a half later, we have already introduced the Red Premium in more than 6 EU countries, and demand from these markets is starting to pick up significantly".
The marketing manager explains that they launched the product now to get market feedbacks. “We’re taking it slowly. So far, people appreciate the product’s quality. We want to become well-established this season. We want to spread its reach as much as possible in Europe.
Plans to expand
Once the market demand has been established, the company wants to increase production and planting. ‘We’re already talking to a lot of growers in the regions mentioned. In the coming years, we’re going to move a lot of our resources toward growing this brand’s infrastructure. We want to offer the market a premium alternative that’s more price-competitive.”
“We’re very optimistic. Once things get back to normal, we’ll get a chance to approach the big retailers. We are very excited about this Red Premium potential,” Yosi concludes.