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Summer Citrus from South Africa celebrates 20 years

Summer Citrus from South Africa turned 20 this year, having spent the past two decades serving the United States with fresh citrus during the summer months.

“Summer Citrus from South Africa works to supply the U.S. with citrus during the summer season when domestic citrus is not available, so retailers are able to provide quality year-round citrus,” said Suhanra Conradie, chief executive officer of SCSA. “We are a unique business model that brings together competitors to better serve the market and U.S. consumers.”

Originally founded in 1999 and re-branded for expanded marketing efforts in 2016, the group provides Navels, Midknights, Easy Peelers, Star Ruby Grapefruit and Cara Cara oranges across the globe.

To commemorate the milestone of its beginnings, SCSA kicked off its 20th year anniversary with its annual planning session in South Africa and celebrated with a champagne toast at Viva Fresh in April this year.

045-2 “Relationships are the backbone of our business and the secret to much of our success,” Conradie said. “Summer Citrus from South Africa works hard to keep a collaborative business approach to manage challenges of the market and utilize opportunities cohesively as a team.”

At the April planning session in Citrusdal, South Africa, Conradie noted that though its faced many challenges, by facing those head-on, it’s established a successful model of collaboration.

“We must not forget the lessons we’ve learned,” she said. “We need to stay at the forefront of where the market is going and innovate along the way. What some view as a group of competitors, both on the production and importing side of our business, must be viewed as a collaborative effort with one mission in mind and that is to provide our friends in the U.S. with a stable and high quality supply of citrus during the summer months.”

Although consumers continue to demand the fruit, the organization recognizes that the playing field is constantly changing and it must stay at the forefront of the market to stay competitive.

“The program continues to grow and evolve because of our business model to manage supply and demand in the U.S.,” Conradie said. “We are expecting another healthy season of quality, flavorful fruit. Our first conventional vessel is scheduled to arrive early July, with the second close behind in the following weeks.”

A major reason SCSA has worked so hard to establish a unique South African brand identity is for the retailers’ sake.

“We serve our retailers just as much as we do consumers because we know that people actively seek citrus from South Africa once they’ve tried our fruit,” Conradie said. “Without the distinct labeling and branding of our product, it’s a challenge for retailers or consumers to know what they’re purchasing.”

SCSA is always on the lookout for ways to innovate and stay at the forefront of the market, looking for inspiration in the success of the U.S. market to continue to evolve its cohesive grower model based on collaboration to resolve industry challenges together.

“In early July, we will be launching a promotion to generate awareness and drive demand with consumers. The objective is to drive traffic into retail locations and encourage purchase of summer citrus,” Conradie said. “Retailers should keep in mind the versatility of citrus in beverages, salads, desserts and as a flavor enhancer. Citrus has a wide variety of usages that shoppers need to be reminded of as well as the new and different ways they can be enjoying summer citrus.”