At Frukar in the Netherlands, the Spanish mandarin season burst forth in September. And the first Navelina oranges arrived on October 25. "Spain has had an excellent harvest across the board. That also means more and, thus, smaller fruit, which unbalances the market. The demand for large sizes - of which there are fewer - is fine. Selling the small sizes is much tougher, though. Also because there are still South African oranges on the market," Willem Koole says.
"The Spanish supply currently consists of Navelinas. Good juicing oranges usually only come onto the market from mid-December. Mandarin sales are going quite well this year. The Spanish Clemenules season should be brief. And Clemenvillas are expected in early December already. So, the market will quickly switch to varieties like Tango and Nadorcott. That may well result in an extraordinary mandarin market in December."
"Last year, when COVID-19 hit, the citrus demand hit record heights. That hype has now died down. Orange price rose by as much as €6/case in 2020. Lemons, too, were selling for higher prices. This year, the South African and Argentinian lemon seasons have been catastrophic. And there's still overseas supply on the market. And we've now started with Spanish lemons," says Willem.
"There's a fair demand for those at reasonable prices. Our customers are eager to switch to the new harvest. We get most of our grapefruit from Turkey which is currently selling well. There are also many small sizes available. Prices vary between €11 and €14. There's still South African grapefruit on the market too. There's still only a sporadic Spanish grapefruit supply."
According to Willem, it is still quite possible to distinguish yourself with citrus. "When people think of Spanish citrus, Frukar luckily always comes to mind first. Our trusted brands like Serena and Black Jack are why clients return. They know these guarantee quality, which is appreciated."
"We also try to develop these brands further. This summer, Serena invested in an advanced camera sorting system. This system not only sorts by color and size but also identifies and assesses external and internal defects. It does so by taking dozens of images and infrared scans of each orange."
"We're trying to introduce more new packaging to the market too. That's both for our retail and wholesale buyers. Cardboard packaging, in particular, is on the rise, and we're capitalizing on that. But, we still sell a lot of citrus in the familiar wooden boxes. When it comes to sturdiness, not many other kinds of packaging can compete. And that also means something if, say, the boxes are placed in the open at wholesale markets across Europe," Willem concludes.