The citrus fruit market is in a period of transition. The varieties that have been available since October are disappearing progressively from the market, making place for the second-season varieties. “This year, the transition is not without problems. This applies to both clementines and oranges,” reports Xavier Rosario of Louis Rosario, a company specialized in Spanish citrus fruit.
“We are finishing the Nules and Clemenvilla clementines. They are sold at about 1€/kilo. The varieties arriving - Nadorcott, Tango and Orri - are much more expensive. Their selling price is above 1.50 €. This difference in price obviously creates a psychological break on sales.”
"As for the oranges, Louis Rosario is finishing with the Naveline and starting with the Lane Late. “The Naveline had a very nice color this year. The Lane Late is more pale, and it is more expensive. It is complicated to ask our clients to pay more for a product which is less colorful. The demand is very high for the last citrus fruit at low prices.”
Up until now, the citrus fruit market has been quite heavy. “For the lemon in particular, the closure of restaurants and bars has had an impact on purchases, and the sales around Christmas were a lot slower than usual.” Xavier adds that at the moment, with the cold, the demand for small citrus fruits is slightly up, “especially for clementines with leaves. There is little supply and last week, there was a shortage.”
In the last few months, there was quite some concern about the quality of the citrus fruit. The mild winter of 2020 resulted in early growth and the fruit did not hold well. “This year, Spain was faced with a much harsher winter than the two previous years. I think that next year, the citrus fruit will hold very well. However, the cold winter brings other quality concerns, such as small black spots on the Clemenvillas.”
According to Xavier, the Spanish oranges with leaves suffer more and more from the Portuguese competition. “The Spanish citrus fruit are unfairly impacted by the bad TV reports about Spanish strawberries, and French consumers turn to the Portuguese citrus fruit. Many of our clients do not want Spanish products anymore. This is not justified. It is really a problem of the French market. In other European countries, the Spanish oranges still sell very well.”