The Plant Production and Marketing Board of Israel predicts that 2019 will see significant increase in exports of the Orri Jaffa mandarin to the U.S. and Canada. The Tel Aviv-based organization set goals for expanding export of its leading, easy-to-peel mandarin in response to the increased demand for high-quality, easy-peelers.
The Jaffa Orri is a mandarin developed by scientists at the Israeli Volcani Research Center. This easy-to-peel mandarin retains a fresh, sweet flavor with a fleshy texture, and mouthful juiciness, while bearing virtually no seeds. It also carries a particularly long shelf life and appears later in the season compared to other easy peelers—from January into May.
The American citrus market has been growing significantly in recent years and is composed largely of imports. The mandarin sub-category is the largest in citrus, accounting for some 40 percent of the market. More than 230,000 tons of easy-to-peel mandarins are shipped into the U.S. annually, at a total value of more than $1 billion. This is in addition to the 1 million tons produced locally.
Data from studies conducted in recent years confirm a doubling of per-capita consumption of easy-to-peel mandarins in the past two decades. This coincides with a significant increase in the intake of easy-peelers in the American market, mainly in place of traditional oranges. In recent years, this phenomenon has led to a sharp upsurge in the import of easy-peelers to America, leading to the establishment of new groves.
“The U.S. market for easy-to-peel mandarins is substantial and holds promise as a developing target market for Israeli citrus exports,” says Tal Amit, director of the citrus division in the Plant Production and Marketing Board of Israel. “The success of easy-peeler mandarins in particular can be easily credited to the fruit’s great flavor and unbeatable convenience.”
Over the past five seasons, citrus exports from Israel to North America have increased from 3,000 tons to 9,000 tons last season, of which about 5,300 tons are easy-to-peel mandarins. This season, export of Orri Jaffa mandarin alone is expected to reach 9,000 tons—a potential 70 percent growth.
In spite of this significant rise in consumption of the mandarins in the U.S., consumption per capita is among the lowest in the world, about 2.5 kg per year. But based on the rapidly increasing demand, that figure is forecast to double. In Canada that figure is almost doubled, exceeding 4.6 kg per capita.
Orri Jaffa mandarins currently are exported to 45 countries worldwide. Most of the yield is exported to Europe (78 percent). The most prominent outlets in Europe for the fruit are: France (39 percent), the Netherlands, Scandinavia and Russia (7 percent each). About 18 percent of the fruit is shipped to North America, and 4 percent to the Asia Pacific region.
The Plant Production and Marketing Board of Israel was established in 2004 to assist farmers in advancing their agricultural missions. The board promotes the Jaffa brand and other registered citrus industry brands. It helps kickstart pioneering R&D projects, executes centralized crop protection initiatives, assists organizations in meeting phytosanitary standards and insures growers against weather-related losses.