As the first shipments of Navel oranges from Chile are arriving in U.S. ports on both coasts, the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association is launching a media campaign to build consumer awareness for the latest addition to the summer citrus mix.
Navel oranges will be joining the successful clementine deal, now in its third year, with the first grapefruits scheduled to arrive in September. Lemons and mandarins round out Chile's citrus offerings.
As U.S. citrus supplies decline, freshly harvested citrus from Chile is filling the void for produce managers and chefs to provide them to customers for snacking, salads, drinks, desserts and marinades.
To help spread the word, the association is working with greengrocers and food personalities across the country to produce TV and in-store video segments featuring Navel oranges.
A press release announcing the new arrivals also provides easy recipes and usage ideas for summer citrus. It will be sent to print and on-line media outlets.
"Navel oranges are not new to consumers, and while traditionally thought of as a winter fruit, it is a natural for healthful summer meals and as a refreshing snack," Tom Tjerandsen, managing director of the association, said in a press release.
Chilean growers have been careful to ship fruit with high Brix levels that appeal to U.S. buyers.
Early estimates suggest that Chile will ship 600,000 to 800,000 cartons of Navel oranges to the United States, with total exports exceeding 40,000 tons. Throughout the season, Chile will be shipping 15-kilogram boxes of Navels sized 40 to 88, including the popular sizes of 56, 48 and 40.