Chilean Navels competitive in U.S. in 2010, global marketer says

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Chilean Navels competitive in U.S. in 2010, global marketer says

Chilean oranges were well-received in the United States in 2010, and the weak U.S. dollar will affect growers in 2011, said Rock Gumpert, CEO of Seven Seas Quality Fruit Distributors, part of Tom Lange Co. International Inc.

Chile’s entry into the market with Australia and South Africa has not had a “material impact,” said Rock Gumpert.

The U.S. summer market was solid, and an expected collapse in the market upon Chile’s entry two years ago did not happen, added Bill Weyland, vice president of imports for Seven Seas.

“I think everyone was expecting the market to react in a negative way these last two years, and we haven’t experienced that,” Weyland said.

Bill Weyland (left) and Rock Gumpert of Seven Seas Quality Fruit

Chile is not as far along in promoting its Navels in the U.S. as Australia, which has been in the market longer, Weyland said.

“The Australians for the last several years have had a pretty good marketing campaign to create awareness for the Australian Navel; South Africa has just started to do some. Chile, although it’s very strong in the marketing of the summer fruits, on the citrus they have not collaborated on any type of marketing as an industry,” Weyland said.

Even with no marketing, Chilean oranges did well in 2010, Weyland said. The quality is “excellent,” Gumpert added.

As of week 38, Chile had shipped 47,000 tons of oranges in 2010, 40% more than last season, according to fruit consultancy iQonsulting.

In 2011 the big story will be the weak U.S. dollar and its affect on growers, Gumpert said.

Growers and other fresh fruit industry interests in Chile have lobbied the government to intervene to stop the rising peso, but so far, the government has not taken action. Other nations, including Brazil and Japan, have stepped in to protect their currencies.

“I think the dollar will have some obvious impact on the growers,” Gumpert said. “It really will affect their earning potential.”


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