South African citrus have suffered a difficult season, with quality problems and volumes down on some crops.
Navel volumes were down by 10-15 per cent and valencia is down by up to 20 per cent, as weather in the Eastern Cape and rains in the north of the country have caused quality issues.
However, the situation for producers has been unpredictable, according to Martin Dunnett from Capespan: “It’s been very localised - some farms had poor crops and some normal, but in general, it’s been quite variable,” he said.
Fruit has suffered from wind scarring and on average valencia is up one-two sizes. This has meant similar prices for both small and large fruit, which is very unusual, as the large sizes normally command a premium, he said.
South African grapefruit finished early and there will be less red grapefruit in September. White grapefruit has also been under pressure, with many fruit still to colour in the system.
However, easy peelers have finished, having had a reasonable year and Capespan is now working on a variety called ClemenGold which is coming through in reasonable volumes, Dunnett added.
Celebrating its new-season citrus this year, Capespan has launched a promotional pack of oranges into Morrisons - the first time the fruit will appear in the store under its Outspan brand.
Retailing at 1.49 the pack went on sale this week and, according to Capespan, will remain in store for the foreseeable future.
The launch will be supported by strategic in-store and promotional point-of-sale material, as well as an Outspan roadshow, which will visit selected stores over the next six weeks, offering consumers the chance to sample the oranges. The roadshow will be supported by the Outspan orange car and Olivia Orange costume character.
Further supporting the launch, a “Win a Bike with Outspan” competition leaflet will run in all stores from the end of August for a four-week period.
Dunnett said: “We are very pleased to be launching it with Morrisons, they have been positive about our brands. It’s a specially selected range so it’s a premium range and it will be interesting to see how consumers respond to the good value the Outspan brand offers.”