Tesco, a UK supermarket giant, is introducing a new breed of hybrid easy-peeler citrus fruit in response to the declining production of satsumas. The European market's preference for unseeded clementines has led to Spanish and Moroccan growers reducing their satsuma production. Tesco has partnered with these growers to develop mandarin hybrids with fewer seeds.

According to Tesco, the demand for these mandarin hybrids among UK customers is on the rise. The new varieties, namely Meiravit, Havva, Orit, and Sigal, offer longer shelf life, fewer seeds, and resistance to early season greening. They also possess a vibrant color and a stronger aroma. Tesco anticipates these hybrids could replace clementines entirely within the next decade.

James Cackett, Tesco citrus fruit technical manager, explained the shift in production from satsumas to clementines. He stated, "What caused all this to happen is that traditionally the European market preferred clementines, which are seeded, while we in the UK prefer satsumas, which are unseeded. About 20 years ago Spanish and Moroccan growers decided that the European market was more important to them and so many began switching production from satsumas to clementines. Now far fewer satsumas are grown."

He further added that the mandarin hybrid breeding program is now starting to bear fruit. This is a part of a long-standing quality improvement program where Tesco collaborates with suppliers and Spanish and Moroccan growers to ensure the perfect fruit for their customers.

Bennie Smidt, head of agronomy at AMT Fresh, explained the process of creating hybrids and warned that it could take up to 20 years for a hybrid to reach the market in commercial volumes.

Source: mirror.co.uk