Summary of our market study

Since 2020, the global citrus market has experienced fluctuations in production and prices due to various factors such as adverse weather conditions, increased production costs, and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. World orange production fell by 5% in 2022/23 to 47.5 million tons, influenced by reduced harvests in the European Union, Brazil, and the U.S. The decrease in supply led to higher orange prices compared to the previous year. The pandemic increased demand for citrus fruits, due to their vitamin C content and perceived health benefits.

The citrus market also faced challenges from the conflict in Ukraine, which triggered inflationary pressures and reduced consumer purchasing power, with food prices in Italy growing by nearly 20% over two years. Despite these challenges, per capita consumption of citrus in Italy increased from 29 kg in 2017 to 41.2 kg in 2022. The market structure indicates a concentration of production, with fewer, larger farms dominating the sector. The Italian citrus industry, vital for the country’s agriculture, adapts to increased demand and navigates economic challenges presented by external events and climate change.

Market Trends in the Italian Citrus Industry

Over the past few years, the Italian citrus market has witnessed robust growth and become a significant segment of the country's agricultural economy. The production and consumption of citrus fruits, such as oranges, lemons, tangerines, and grapefruits, has shown a remarkable upward trend, indicating a strong demand among Italian consumers. Citrus fruits have deep-rooted traditions in southern Italy, contributing to their popularity and significance in the market. The citrus market's growth is evident from the increase in production, which has reached approximately 130 million tons worldwide, representing a growth of about 125 percent over the past three decades. Specifically in Italy, the production of citrus fruits has grown by 26.4 percent from the 2017/18 to the 2021/22 marketing year. One of the noticeable trends, influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic, was the increased consumer preference for citrus fruits due to their vitamin C content and immune-boosting properties. Although the pandemic's impact was slight, it led to a substantial rise in demand. In terms of market value, Italy's citrus market was estimated to be over 1 billion euros in 2021, with a steady increase over the preceding years. This illustrates the market's robustness and its crucial role in the Italian economy.

The market dynamics are also reflected in the retail sector, where citrus fruits account for a notable percentage of fruit purchases in Italian households. Oranges hold the largest market share, representing nearly half of the total citrus purchases. While the market has shown positive growth, it has been influenced by external factors such as inflation triggered by the war in Ukraine and the resultant increase in consumer prices, which surged by around 20 percent. This inflationary pressure has affected the market's structure, leading to a consolidation trend wherein the number of farms has reduced while the average farm size has increased. In conclusion, Italy's citrus market has exhibited significant growth over recent years, characterized by increased production and consumption. The market's resilience despite external economic pressures and the ongoing trends suggest a sustained interest in citrus fruits among Italian consumers. These fruits' health benefits, coupled with cultural and culinary significance, have positioned citrus firmly within Italian households, making it a staple of the Italian diet.

Key Players in the Italian Citrus Market

Within the vibrant Italian citrus market, several companies have established themselves as significant contributors to the industry. While turnover data is not included here, the presence and influence of these companies are notable in terms of their production capacity, reputation, and the quality of citrus products they offer.

  • OP La Deliziosa: This organization has cemented its position as a leader in citrus production, offering a wide variety of citrus fruits known for their taste and quality. It operates with a keen eye on sustainable practices and has a strong network for distribution and sales within Italy.
  • Consorzio A.P.O. Sicily: A consortium that unites several producers under one umbrella, A.P.O. Sicily focuses on leveraging the collective strength of its members to produce and market Sicilian citrus fruits, renowned for their unique characteristics and flavors.
  • Orancoop: This cooperative is another key player that brings together citrus growers to optimize production and ensure consistent quality. Its cooperative model allows for a shared approach in tackling market challenges and enhancing citrus offerings.
  • Villa Massa: With a particularly strong reputation in the production of citrus-based liqueurs, Villa Massa has a rich heritage of using traditional methods to create high-quality products, especially renowned for using Sorrento lemons in its renowned limoncello.
  • The Late of Ciaculli: This company has a niche focus on a unique variety of citrus known as the Late Mandarin of Ciaculli, celebrated for its late ripening and exceptional flavor. They preserve the traditional cultivation methods to maintain the authenticity of their fruit.
  • Lands and Fruits of Sicily: This enterprise specializes in the production and marketing of Sicilian citrus, capitalizing on the island's ideal growing conditions to offer premium quality citrus products to both domestic and international markets.
  • Nature Island Farm Marketing: This company focuses on branding and marketing efforts to bring the best of Italian citrus to broader audiences, emphasizing the natural and healthful qualities of their products.
  • Ceres S.r.l.: Ceres operates with a focus on ensuring the exceptional quality of its citrus fruits, implementing strict standards in cultivation and harvesting to produce superior citrus products.
  • Motta: Known for its commitment to quality, Motta offers a range of citrus fruits that appeal to consumers looking for fresh and flavorful options. They maintain a strong presence in the market through continued excellence in their offerings.
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Summary and extracts

1 Market Overview

1.1 Definition and presentation

A citrus tree can be defined as any of the various evergreen, usually thorny shrubs or trees in the genus Citrus and other genera in the family Rutaceae, such as grapefruit, lemon, and orange. They are native to South and Southeast Asia and widely cultivated for their juicy edible fruits with a leathery aromatic rind. This study will focus on the fruits of these trees and both their production and marketing.

Citrus fruits are one of the most important fruit and vegetable categories, both in terms of production volume and trade. Over the past three decades, world citrus production has continued to increase steadily and has now reached more than 130 million tons, a growth of about 125 %.

Citrus consumption in Italy is, for various reasons, a phenomenon of particular importance and complexity because it is anchored in deep and distant traditions in the southern part of the country. In fact, in Italy, the trade of oranges and other citrus fruits (tangerines, lemons, grapefruits) accounts for 15-17% of total sales in the super and hypermarket channels.

The COVID-19 pandemic and its consequences on the market created the most important trends in consumer behavior for these specific products recorded in Italy in 2020, mostly. These trends summary should be threefold. First, purchases are less frequent, but the average receipt increased. Then there was a decisive increase in market share by local stores, e-commerce, and discounters, at the expense of hypermarkets and local markets. Eventually, the preference for seasonal products further increased, especially the products of Italian origin, possibly organic, and the focus was more pronounced on recyclable green packaging.

List of charts presented in this market study

  • Value of the world fruit market
  • Agricultural sector composition
  • Area in citrus production
  • Citrus production
  • Citrus market value
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Companies quoted in this study

This study contains a complete overview of the companies in the market, with the latest figures and news for each company. :

OP La Deliziosa
Consorzio A.P.O. Sicilia
Villa Massa S.r.l.
Il Tardivo di Ciaculli S.r.l.
Terre e Frutta di Sicilia
Isola della Natura Marketing S.r.l.
Ceres S.r.l.
Motta Cooperativa agricola
Consorzio Ortofrutta Sicilia

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