Earlier this year, Tamil Amit, head of the citrus sector at Israel’s Plant Production and Marketing Board, spoke to PBUK about the importance of looking outside of Europe and the UK this season to alternative markets that can absorb high quantities of easy peelers.
This season has seen substantial harvest growth to around 100,000 metric tonnes, with even greater volumes anticipated over the next five years as more plantings continue to mature.
To avoid a glut in the European and British markets, Israeli exporters have been teeing up new business in China and Japan as Spanish and Moroccan competitors also target Europe with good volumes of fruit this season.
The Board recently commissioned sensory market research to investigate what Asian consumers think about the Israeli fruit and to use the results to help plan how best to position and market its mandarins.
The research finds that 73% of Chinese consumers agree that they would purchase the easy-to-peel Jaffa Orri fruit, while 81% Japanese consumers say they would purchase the mandarins (called “Jaffa OR” in Japan).
The sensory market research study in both China and Japan evaluates the Jaffa Orri/OR mandarin’s potential and positioning in these markets –– and the findings indicated a significant preference for the Jaffa Orri mandarin.
The research in China involved surveying 202 local residents of Beijing & Shanghai, aged between 25 and 55. Overall, Jaffa Orri performed well — significantly better than Frutaria and Buzhihuo, and exponentially better than Murcott (a.k.a. Honey Tangerine), according to Amit.
Jaffa Orri was well liked across all sensory attributes, attaining 70% or greater “just right” (optimum score) on colour (before peel), strength of aroma, strength of taste, and firmness of texture.
“Interestingly, quite a few consumers spontaneously complimented the fruit on its juiciness and good balance of sweetness and acidity,” says Amit.
Similar sensory market research was conducted in Tokyo, Japan, where 200 men and women aged 30 to 60 years, were surveyed, with similar results as well.
Of the consumers polled, 81% said they would purchase Jaffa Orri mandarins, while 46% said they would purchase Ponkans and 39% Murcotts.
“This is exciting news for the Israeli Jaffa Orri mandarin growers who have put a great deal of efforts to accelerate yield and ensure high quality fruits,” adds Amit.
“Jaffa Orri is set to increase its export volumes to China and Japan in the coming season, commencing January 2018.”