The Plant Production and Marketing Board of Israel plans significant expansion of its Orri Jaffa mandarin orange exports to the United States and Canada this year because of increased demand for these easy-to-peel mandarins.
The Jaffa Orri was developed by scientists at the Israeli Volcani Center Agricultural Research Organization. Not only does the peel come off easily, but the Jaffa Orri boasts a sweet juicy flavor and fleshy texture and has virtually no seeds.
Plus, this mandarin was bred to have 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 steadily over the past two decades and is composed largely of imports. The mandarin sub-category has become the largest in the citrus category, accounting for some 40 percent of the market. Americans seem to be choosing them in place of traditional oranges.
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, constituting a potential 70% growth.
“The US 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.”
Orri Jaffa mandarin currently is exported to 45 countries. Most of the yield is exported to Europe (78%) – most prominently France (39%), the Netherlands, Scandinavia and Russia (7% each). About 18% of the fruit is shipped to North America, and 4% to Asia Pacific.