Chile’s C&L Fruit aims to win over US market with stonefruit flavor and color innovations
Chilean stonefruit and citrus producer-exporter C&L Fruit will be bringing a number of innovative plum, nectarine, peach, cherry and citrus varieties to the US market this year, with the focus on attractive colors and flavors, including high sugar content. Primarily early varieties, C&L Fruit believes the new genetics will bring fresh variety for US consumers over the remainder of 2022 and beyond.
A family-run company, which has been present in the US since 2016, C&L Fruit is aiming to expand its presence in the market, particularly in the grocery retail channel through importers such as Los Angeles-based Bengard Marketing. Based in Chile’s Centro Sur region, C&L Fruit produces stonefruit and citrus over 3.000 acres spread across the country.
C&L Fruit Sales Director Andrés Lazo said: “For us, the US is a very important market in terms of volume, especially in terms of plums, nectarines, peaches, cherries and citrus. As a company, we’re very focused on new fruit genetics, especially in the development of varieties with outstanding color, flavors, earlier season, long shelf life as well as new packaging.”
Lazo said the new genetics developed in C&L Fruit’s orchards had focused on the planting of very early varieties with strong colors and high sugar content.
Cristian Ramila, Managing Director of Los Angeles-based importer Bengard Marketing, has been working with C&L Fruit since early 2022, focusing on plums starting in February, followed by oranges and mandarins. Ramila said the fruit was principally marketed to US supermarkets (larger sizes) and Hispanic grocery stores (smaller sizes).
To cater for the US and other markets, C&L Fruit grow a wide variety of cherries (including Lapins, Santina, Bing, Sweet Heart and Royal Dawn), nectarines (including August Pearl, Sweet Giant, Majestic Pearl and NE 269), plums (among others, Angeleno, Sweet Mary, Happy Giant, Red Phoenix and Crimson Dawn) and peaches (including Spring Crest, Royal Glory and Rich Lady).
Chilean cherry season
Chile’s cherry season is poised to begin once again followed three challenging campaigns, with producers having to cope with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, climate-related events, ever-stricter phytosanitary regulations and logistical problems. The 2022-23 season brings with it a new challenge: an earlier Chinese New Year on January 22, 2023, as China moves into the Year of the Rabbit.
In the case of C&L Fruit, which expects to start cherry shipments in early November, the company is forecasting a 20% increase in export volume compared with the previous campaign, according to Lazo. The focus this season in terms of markets, he continued, would be Asia, following by the U.S. and Canada, Europe and to a lesser extent by Latin America.
According to information from Chile’s official agricultural statistics office Odepa, the country exported 1.82 million tonnes of fresh fruit during the first six months of 2022, worth some US$3,899 million. This represented a 8.3% increase in volume and 8.4% in value respectively. Cherries were the principal fresh fruit exported during the period, with shipments totalling 285,000 tonnes; the equivalent of US$1,587 million and representing a 7.2% rise in volume and 33.6% in value from the first half of 2021.
C&L Fruit will be participating in the forthcoming Fruit Attraction 2023 trade exhibition, which takes place in Madrid, Spain from October 4-6, 2023. For further information, please contact: email@example.com.