Jaffa Orri to be branded crown jewel of mandarins for all the right reasons

Of all mandarin varieties out there, one in particular reigns supreme, the Jaffa Orri. Few people realize that Orri started its journey nearly 30 years ago as a collaborative research project by leading citrus breeders and botanists at Israel’s acclaimed agricultural research organization, the Volcani Center.  The results exceeded expectations:  An exceptionally attractive and juicy mandarin with a distinguished sweet taste, zero to no seeds, and easy to peel nature.

The newly developed Orri cultivars were planted across experimental plots in Israel, with supply falling short of demand ever since, despite its rapid acceptance by citrus growers. Today, Orri’s production stands at nearly 140,000 metric tons. Volume is expected to reach 200,000 metric tons by 2020 as a result of maturing new plantations and improved quality in cultivation and crop protection during growth. Jaffa’s Orri is currently marketed in 30 countries, 17 of which are in Europe accounting for nearly 80% of export, and the rest in Southeast Asia, Africa and North America.

Orri is not only better tasting, it is also the most economical of mandarins with an exceptionally long shelf life and harvest season of four months, compared to roughly two months of rival mandarins. As a result, Orri ripens when most easy-peelers are in short global supply. Armed with superior taste and growing attributes, it is really no wonder that Israel’s Plant Production & Marketing Board in charge of promoting the Jaffa brand has decided embark on a global branding strategy for its “King of Mandarins”.

“The ambitious plan aims to bring Orri to every premium supermarket worldwide”, says Amit Tal, the head of citrus fruits at the board.  While many citrus marketers are well aware of Orri’s superior qualities, there are markets where Orri has yet to penetrate on a large commercial scale.  In market research conducted in target countries, China and Japan showed a clear consumer preference to Jaffa Orri taste, flavor and fruity qualities, compared to established mandarins in same markets. It was therefore decided that initial branding efforts will focus on new European markets while escalating marketing efforts and penetration in North America and Asia, particularly in Japan and China. The ambitious 5-year branding strategy aims to position Orri as the best of breed in peelables, as is evidenced by sensory evaluation and blind taste tests recently conducted across multiple markets.