The New Zealand navel orange industry’s ongoing commitment to optimum eating quality has resulted in a record 97% consumer acceptability in the first three weeks of the season.
These strong early season results were generated by post-harvest maturity data analysis carried out for the Citrus New Zealand by crop quality specialists, Delytics Ltd.
Delytics Managing Director, Mark Loeffen says, “Our analysis has shown a consistently high consumer acceptance for navel oranges since the industry adopted the clearance process we developed for them in 2016. Achieving these ongoing outstanding results is a credit to all the growers and marketers who have committed to making sure their fruit is at the right taste maturity before they send it to market.”
In 2015, before the new clearance protocols and BrimA standards were adopted, consumer acceptability was only 67%. Since then, consumer acceptability has tracked north of 82% each season, despite significant variations in weather-related growing conditions.
Mark says, “Having clearance processes in place enables fruit to be harvested and sent to market at the right maturity, every season, no matter how good or challenging the growing season. The industry has minimum BrimA maturity standards in place and the clearance protocols help growers get great tasting fruit to market, right from the start of the season, by knowing when these standards are met.”
Delytics has been working closely with the navel orange sector over the past six years to help embed the voluntary maturity standards and clearance protocols throughout the whole supply chain.
Citrus New Zealand Research Manager, Sally Anderson, says the consistently high consumer acceptability of New Zealand navel oranges is due to the support and voluntary participation of all supply chain stakeholders including growers, marketing companies and the retailers.
Sally says, “I’m really delighted that we’ve got to this point so early in the season. We have started off with a hiss and a roar and the signs look good for that to continue as fruit generally gets better as the season progresses. Keeping the consumer acceptability over 90% would be brilliant for the season in terms of what the consumer is seeing in the market.”
“All the research shows that if consumers get good tasting fruit early in the season, they will continue to buy it.”