Martucci, a company from the southern Italian region of Apulia that has been packaging and marketing citrus since 1980, started the new season of Comune clementines last week. Sales director Daniele Martucci provided more details on the campaign.
Sorting line for Comune clementines at Martucci's packing station
"We started about two weeks later than in previous years because of the hot and dry weather. Sales have been more than satisfactory in these first days. Demand is very high. I remain optimistic despite everyone complaining about the economic crisis, uncertainties and lower consumer spending. But the AGF sector has been struggling for years. I am sure that we can also face the current challenges," said the manager of this packing station in the province of Taranto.
"Traders have just had a bad grape season. So they are not too optimistic about citrus sales. However, citrus is a very different product in my opinion. Currently there is not such a wide range of fruit on the shelves compared to summer. Often citrus is among the best-selling products, for various reasons. I see that happening again this year."
Demand for clementines of the Comune variety is high and prices also seem satisfactory. "In this first part of the season we have been sending 10 pallets a day to the Italian wholesale markets, but at the end of last week we also started the first exports to other European countries. First to France, and then also to Poland and Hungary. In terms of prices, we pay about €0.70 to €0.80 per kilo to the growers."
To cope with the increase in costs, growers are asking higher prices than in previous years. "We traders realize that costs have increased and therefore we are willing to pay a few cents more to the growers. We have reminded all customers that fruit will cost more this year, not only because of higher growing costs, but also because of the increase in costs at the packing station, with more expensive energy and packaging. Everyone has sympathized, including customers in countries with lower purchasing power where citrus is often sold at very low prices."
As for sizing, Martucci said that the lack of rainfall during the growing phase has led to smaller sizes. "The average calibers range from IV to II, but that's actually not a big problem, because we will certainly manage to sell a large proportion in the countries that usually demand smaller sizes for economic reasons."
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