With key health research on their side, Australian lemon suppliers look set to increase their presence in Asia over coming seasons.
A new study from Tufts University (US), published in The Journal of the American Medical Association, blamed 10 nutrients for 45.4 per cent of cardiometabolic deaths in 2012. The researchers found that the largest number of diet-related cardiometabolic deaths were related to eating too much salt.
“Lemon zest and juice has proven to be an effective way to reduce salt in our diets,” said peak industry body Citrus Australia in a release. “This in addition to other health benefits associated with increased lemon consumption, including increasing Vitamin C, which helps boost the immune system, and providing antioxidants, which are beneficial for your skin.”
Consumers in Asian countries are growing increasingly aware of the health properties of lemons, as evident by the recent lemon detox craze that gripped a number of Far East countries, including Japan, South Korea and China.
Ensuing demand has seen Australian lemon sales increase from just under A$1m in 2012 to A$8.5m in 2016. The greatest demand has come from Indonesia, which absorbs close to 70 per cent of all Australian lemon exports. Singapore (11 per cent) and the Philippines (6 per cent) are also strong markets.
The Australian lemon season is now underway, with Queensland growers tending to crops over the last few weeks.
Australian lemons are not widely available during summer, with imported lemons, mainly from the US, used to fill a gap in the domestic market. Retailers will continue to offer a mix of imported and local lemons until more local lemons are available.
The Australian season is expected to run through until November.