This season’s crop of Navel oranges is flat compared to last year at this time.
“The crop shows good eating quality and size structure. It’s looking to be a great-tasting citrus season,” says Christina Ward with Sunkist Growers based in Valencia, CA.
Sunkist Growers has more than 2,000 grower members throughout California and Arizona in the Central Valley region, the Southern California Coastal region and the California Desert/Arizona border region.
As far as demand, Ward says it’s keeping an eye on two developing consumer trends. “More and more consumers are continuing to catch on to the health benefits found in produce. According to our recent shopper behavior study, the number one reason consumers purchase citrus is to eat healthier,” says Ward.
Maximizing consumer trends
She adds though that while health may be the driver for orange consumption, marketing initiatives such as recipe development help keep consumers engaged. Consumers also continue to be interested in knowing where their food came from and how it was grown and produced.
Looking ahead, Sunkist Growers is moving into its holiday movie-themed promotion with limited edition 10 lb. cartons of Navel oranges. “Navel oranges have been an integral part of holidays for over a century and this box is specifically designed to inspire new traditions, like a movie night in,” says Ward.
This initiative is part of a bigger focus at Sunkist Growers on promotional programs that are taking place both in-store and online. “There is still an excellent opportunity to educate shoppers on our specialty varieties' unique flavors and qualities. Through sampling programs, point-of-sale and digital advertising, we have an opportunity to entice shoppers to find their flavor,” says Ward.