The arrival of cold temperatures is driving citrus consumption up in Canada; a market with a clear preference for easy peelers, such as mandarins and Clementines.

"Consumption of easy peelers in Canada is growing significantly every year, while demand for oranges remains stable. It is worth noting that overall consumption of Clementines and mandarins usually skyrocket during the winter months compared to the summer," explains Ian Routhier, "as consumers in most Nordic countries are keen on foods rich in vitamin C."

"Without a doubt, the fewer hours of sunshine and colder temperatures encourage consumers to buy citrus; for this reason, Clementine imports from the Mediterranean, mainly from Morocco and to a lesser extent Spain, increase in the months of November and December." 

For its part, Canada also imports its citrus from the U.S. and China during the winter season.

Morocco, which is still the largest exporter of easy peelers to Canada, ships mainly the Clemenules and Orogrande varieties, along with other local varieties, such as Sidi Aissa, Larache and Cadoux during the first stages of the campaign. From late January and early February they ship the Clementine variety called Nour, and they close the campaign with the Nadorcott. As for Clementine varieties with leaf, Spain has a clear monopoly, according to Ian Routhier.

"I believe that competition between the various producing countries will become fierce in the coming years. Morocco is struggling to keep its market share in Canada after developing a huge investment plan about six years ago with the planting of Clementine and mandarin trees. Meanwhile, Spain pursues to increase its presence to alleviate the impact of the Russian veto on its imports, while U.S. exports continue to increase year after year after investing heavily in new plantations and handling and packaging facilities," he affirms.

The importer points out that "only the country able to reach the highest quality standards will win this battle, and I can say that Spain and Morocco produce the best citrus by far in terms of both quality and taste. Compared to U.S. fruit, Moroccan Clementines reach better calibres and are more attractive incolour."

"The Canadian market is important in terms of per capita consumption, but population growth is limited. The potential of each exporting country depends on the market share that they are willing to fight to maintain," he concludes.