US retailers can look forward to strong volumes of high-quality, promotable citrus as spring programs yield to summer deals.

Wonderful Citrus plans to ship California mandarins under its Wonderful Halos brand through May, after which its summer import program will take over, said Zak Laffite, Wonderful Citrus’s president.

Given continuing trends, demand should remain strong, he said.

“Over the past few years, we’ve seen a peaked interest in citrus subcategories for their functional benefits and convenience. Consumers are continuing to seek good-for-you snacks they can enjoy on-the-go and incorporate into their healthier lifestyles, especially ones offered by citrus.”

Overall, Laffite expects a similar product lineup in late spring and summer as in 2023.

Sunkist Growers will ship a full portfolio of conventional and organic navels, cara caras, blood oranges, tangelos, lemons, California mandarins and grapefruit through late spring, said Cassie Howard, senior director of category management and marketing. 

On the specialty side, Sunkist will also be shipping Ojai Pixi tangerines through spring.

Looking ahead to summer, Howard is expecting robust supplies of California Star Ruby grapefruit, lemons and Valencia oranges, aka “The Summer Orange” (because they’re perfect for juicing).

Even with later starts on several crops, Sunkist expects to be competitive in both its conventional and organic offerings this spring and summer, Howard said.

And there should be plenty of demand to help move all that fruit. According to Circana, citrus dollars are up 8%, outpacing the overall fruit category.

This article is an excerpt from the April 2024 issue of Supermarket Perimeter. You can read the entire Citrus feature and more in the digital edition here.