The 2019/20 global citrus crop is down for all categories, except grapefruit. Orange production is down 11% to 47.5 million, due to weather-afflicted seasons in Brazil, the EU, Morocco and Egypt, with small increases in China and the US unable to compensate for these losses. The global mandarin crop is down 1% to 31.7 million tons, with drops in all major production regions, especially Turkey (-9%) except China. The world’s lemon crop is estimated to be down 7% to 7.9 million tons, with Argentina (-11%), the EU (-13%), Turkey (-9%) and the US (16%) all suffering challenging seasons due to weather events. Mexico’s and South Africa’s lemon and lime production are both expected to be up. Lastly, grapefruit was the one citrus category that registered a larger crop in the 2019-20 campaign, with larger harvests in China, South Africa, Turkey and the US more than offsetting the 18% fall in the EU’s crop.
After a record 2018/19 lemon harvest, Spain is set for more normal volumes this season. According to Ailimpo, the 2019/20 Spanish lemon crop is estimated to reach 1,110,000 tons, down 15% from last year. The picture is different depending on the varieties, with Fino dropping 11% in volume and Verna down 24%. The good news is that the crops appear to have emerged relatively unscathed from the mid-September storms.
The main markets remain Europe, North America and the Middle East. Between 20 and 25% of production will be for processing, with Spain the world’s second-largest supplier of processed lemons.
Thanks predominantly to shoppers buying them more often, retail sales of lemons in the UK are up 13.6% on last year to 47,000 tons.
Kantar Worldpanel data also shows that the 5.3% rise in the frequency of lemon purchases helped push up the lemon spend to a total of £87.6 million for the 52 weeks to May 22 this year, meaning the lemon market grew by 19.2% or just over £14 million.
The average price paid per kilo was up 4.88% on that for the same period a year ago, to £1.86.