Following significant production increases in Jaffa Orri Mandarins, Israeli exporters have their sights on China to absorb greater volumes of easy peelers.
During an interview with PBUK last month at Fruit Logistica in Berlin, head of the citrus sector at Israel’s Plant Production and Marketing Board, Tamil Amit said he was conscious of avoiding a glut in the European market as Spanish and Moroccan competitors also have good volumes this year.
He told us then how important it would be to look outside of Europe and the UK this season which has seen substantial harvest growth to around 100,000 metric tonnes, with even greater volumes predicted over the next five years as plantings continue to mature.
And now the Board has announced that China - the leading grower of citrus worldwide with 20 million tonnes in 2016 and mandarin imports of 21,000 tonnes during the 2015/16 season - is the next target to grow its export in 2017.
“We expect to dramatically increase sales volumes of delicious Jaffa Orri in China market in 2017,” says Amit in a release.
“The Chinese are fond of fresh produce and seeking for premium mandarins and are willing to pay for its delicious taste.
“Jaffa Orri Mandarin is well established in Western Europe, especially in France and Germany. The growing demand for mandarin in China encouraged us to conduct a market research in China and Japan to learn about Jaffa Orri potential in these markets, including e-commerce outlets. We hope to receive the consumer research results in April 2017.”
Amit adds how the Jaffa Orri was developed by scientists at Israel’s Volcani Research Center as an easy peel mandarin with a minimal seed content and particularly long shelf life.
“As a result, Jaffa Orri aims to minimise fresh produce waste and can yield better profit,” he Amit.
Since its debut almost 20 years ago, Orri’s popularity has been steadily climbing across Europe, Asia and South America. While Israel remains the largest single exporter, licenced growers are also located in Spain, South Africa, South America and the U.S.
This variety also has a four month long harvest season, much longer than the typical two months for most mandarins.
According to the Produce Marketing Association (PMA), China is the world’s largest e-commerce market and is rapidly growing, mainly due to the rise of online fresh produce sales led by young professionals in Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Tianjin and Chongqing. Sales of online fresh produce were nearly US$4 billion (£329 billion) in 2014.
A growing number of Chinese consumers are increasingly conscious of food safety, standards and regulations - another box ticked, according to Amit.
Meanwhile, citrus greening and unfavourable weather is threatening to reduce China’s mandarin production, which the USDA estimates will reduce by around 900,000 tonnes.
“Our Jaffa Orri brand is well known as a safe and delicious fruit. This can be a great opportunity for Jaffa Orri, especially, since we successfully increased production in 2017, along with extending the shelf life,” adds Amit.