Heirloom navels revitalize the orange category

“Citrus has always been a strong part of retailers’ produce portfolio. But changing consumer demands have caused both growers and retailers to rethink their citrus offerings. “Since mandarins were introduced in the US, this segment has seen tremendous growth driven by the sweet, seedless and easy-to-peel convenience. Because of their high demand, retailers also merchandise them very well,” says Victoria Nuevo-Celeste with Sun Pacific. “However, that has caused some cannibalization of navel orange sales – a category that has been fairly flat for a period of time,” she added. “Navels do not get the same merchandising real estate as mandarins and are usually displayed in bulk”, Nuevo-Celeste said.

Higher brix level
Sun Pacific had been looking for innovative ways to grow the navel category and launched Vintage Sweets as a test two years ago. Vintage Sweets are heirloom navel oranges that are grown from Sun Pacific’s California old line groves. The rootstock is extremely strong and has endured over time. The fruit is a lot sweeter than regular navels as it has higher brix levels than other navels. “Vintage Sweets have done really well with retailers. We provide impactful merchandising display units that call consumer attention with its unique premium look and drive purchases.”

Vintage Sweets are offered between January and May and consumer feedback has been very positive. “We have people calling us from all over the country commenting on the fantastic eating experience of Vintage Sweets,” said Nuevo-Celeste. “It is people in cold-weather states in particular who like the sweet navels. When it is so cold outside and all of a sudden you find something so bright, sweet and delicious, it is almost like bringing a little bit of California sunshine to those states.” 

Attractive packaging
Vintage Sweets are sold at a premium price point and consumers are willing to pay a higher price for them. The heirloom navels come in 3 lb. bags, 6 ct. trays and are also available in bulk. The bags and trays feature packaging that makes them very attractive to consumers, even as a gift. Retailers today have many options when it comes to the offering of citrus products. “We have been able to demonstrate to retailers that this type of merchandising enhances their produce section. It is a very high quality product and the packaging really stands out in the produce aisle. Vintage Sweets is a great way to bring back excitement to the navel segment of the citrus category.” 

For more information:
Victoria Nuevo-Celeste
Sun Pacific
Tel: 626-993-6256

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