Retailers Applaud NZ Navel Orange Quality

27 September 2022

Retailers have applauded Citrus New Zealands’s navel orange quality programme for providing seven consecutive seasons of reliably high consumer acceptability, which hit a record 99% this year.

Retail monitoring data has shown a consistently high consumer acceptance for New Zealand navel oranges since 2016 when the industry adopted minimum maturity standards and independent clearance processes that were designed by crop quality specialists, Delytics Ltd.

Since the new maturity standards were adopted, consumer acceptability has averaged 89% for New Zealand navel oranges, despite some significant seasonal variations in weather and crop yield. This is 22 percentage points higher than in 2015, before the standards were adopted, when consumer acceptability was 67%.

A major retailer addressing the audience at the 2022 Citrus Industry Conference on 22 September stated that, in his opinion, the programme was so good that he would like to see it rolled out across all citrus categories.

Citrus New Zealand Executive Manager, Peter Ensor says, “Our navel orange programme has been an absolute winner from the point of view of the retailers. There has been really good demand since we started the programme, which is good for everybody, including growers and consumers.”

Peter says the retail monitoring Delytics carries out for Citrus New Zealand each season provides as essential crop maturity benchmark for their navel oranges. He says, "Annual monitoring is important because it's a crop that has the potential to vary year on year and if there is a change because of weather or some other external factor, we need to know what's going on. If we only monitor every second year, we might miss something critical."

Delytics has been working closely with the New Zealand navel orange sector over the past seven years to analyse the retail monitoring data and help embed the voluntary maturity standards and clearance protocols throughout the whole supply chain.

Delytics Managing Director, Mark Loeffen says, “Achieving these ongoing outstanding consumer acceptability results is a credit to all the growers and marketers who have committed to making sure their fruit is at the right taste maturity before they send it to market. It is also a great example of the ongoing value that evidence-based maturity standards and clearance processes can provide to a whole industry or brand.”

“We’ve seen many examples where the investment made to set and adopt maturity standards has provided continuous benefits over each successive season the standards are followed. These benefits flow through the whole supply chain to the end consumer and the return on investment is typically very high, with pay back generally seen within the first few seasons.”