Supplies improve South Africa’s Valencia
Late and Midknights orange seasons are expected to be in full swing within a week. This will help alleviate current South African citrus shortages as 70% of the Navel crop has been sold. Martin Dunnett, UK marketing manager of Capespan International, said: “We have seen high prices for oranges in the last month with fruit making between £7-£9/ctn on the wholesale markets. “The overall Navel crop was lighter and many growers sold their fruit to an even more highly priced US market.” However, the volume of Valencia has been reduced by poor growing conditions. Fruit will be available until October, with demand steady because shipments will be smaller. Capespan’s original total estimates of seven million cartons for the overall crop have been cut to five million. “The UK may get as much as 500,000 ctns fewer, just topping the one million mark,” Dunnett added.
Home juicing gap spotted
Increasing consumer interest in buying fresh oranges for home juicing is being targeted by London based importer Hart and Friedmann. Tropical oranges for juicing have been successfully marketed in Holland with green netting aiding identification. Director Yossi Hecht believes a similar method of display could appeal to UK retailers who have begun to develop juicing opportunities, mainly stocking Spanish salustianas over Christmas in clear plastic bags. He is set to discuss the opportunity with British multiples. Hecht already sells limited quantities of Cuban tropical oranges in the UK. “Cuba grows tropical oranges, available for around eight months of the year. “They have a very high sugar and low acid reading,” he says. “The juice content can be as high as 55%, far more than the best Mediterranean counterpart.”
Good market for Valencias
Good quality large sized South African Navel oranges, which are expected to finish at the end of August, have created a potentially good market for Valencias in the coming months. That’s the forecast by Capespan International, which is expecting to handle some 75% of the crop. While volumes of this variety are small, Outspan is still expecting to sell some two million cartons with emphasis on count 72 compared with smaller fruit (count 88) last year.
Alternative sources such as Morocco and Greece sought to plug the gaps
Spanish crop hit by rain but shamoutis are early Heavy rains have seriously affected the availability of Spanish citrus throughout the main production areas. They come at a time when navels and navel lates are at their peak and a major line with UK supermarkets. Most packhouses are able to carry stocks of fruit to carry them over limited periods when picking is interrupted. But in many cases, these have been exhausted and growers are waiting to get back into the groves. Demand will mean that the industry will be living hand to mouth for several weeks after the weather gets back to normal. Prices have, inevitably, risen. On the wholesale market, levels have reached up to £7 per carton. Alternative sources such as Morocco and Greece are being sought to plug the gaps in supply. The current situation will increase the profile of the first Israeli Jaffa shamoutis which have begun to arrive three weeks earlier than normal, the earliest for eight years. Dov Warmen, UK managing director of Mehadrin Tnuport Marketing, said the shamouti crop forecast for the UK was some 130,000 carton equivalents including bulk bins. The good growing conditions in November and December have already been reflected with Suntina being in store a fortnight before Christmas with minneolas sharing the same pattern. They, too, will be here earlier than February.