Clementines, a type of mandarin, are a popular citrus fruit due to their portability and easy-to-remove peels. The success of this fruit has been a triumph of both growers and marketers, as many produce companies focus on influencer marketing and social media promotions to boost sales.
Where Do They Come From?
The coastal Coquimbo and Valparaiso regions of Chile lend themselves perfectly to clementine cultivation. Situated along the Pacific ocean, these places reap the benefits of a perfect tropical climate, along with easy access to shipping ports. These two regions are the first to harvest this year, and the results look promising! Lemons and oranges are also popular in the region, although clementines are currently receiving most of the promotional attention.
While harvests from Chile may be able to sustain markets through the summer, multiple countries are needed to ensure a steady year-round supply. Peru helps ensure the world market doesn’t put all its clementines in one basket, by growing the sweet citrus fruit in its coastal Ica and Lima regions, with the La Libertad and Arequipa regions starting to cultivate it as well.
This extensive growing area helped make Peru the top exporter of tangerines, clementines, and tangelos in 2017!
Where Do They Go?
To Russia, mostly. The famously freezing country imported around $600 million worth of tangerines last year, and there’s no sight of them slowing down.
Despite the Russian Federation hogging most of the easy-peeler market, the bright orange clementines also have significant appeal in North America, Europe, and Japan. Despite Japan’s decrease in imports early in the year, there’s a solid chance the summer months will have demand spiking back up for the citrus goodness.
As for Europe, supply and demand can fluctuate wildly, and not always in a manner beneficial for growers (or consumers!) Currently clementines are in limited supply, meaning that a price bump could either make them more desirable or send consumers looking for alternatives, depending on the crop quality.
What Does This Mean for the Fruit?
Chile had a slow start to their clementine harvest, but it appears that the country’s returns will be picking up right in time to deliver the best high-quality fruit during the summer.
Citrus suppliers such as Seald Sweet LLC and Limoneira Co. will be managing imports from the U.S, South Africa, South America to keep markets supplied with high-quality clementines throughout the warmer months.
Clementine sales will undoubtedly be facing competition from more traditional summer produce, such as peaches and berries. However, the combination of clever marketing and the benefits of citrus for summer activities such as going to the beach and grilling have predictions for this fruit looking as sweet as its delicious segments taste.
So if you’re craving some sweet citrus to help cool down your days, consider the clementine, and know that you’re supporting South American farmers while enjoying a refreshing summer drink.