Greatest Mandarin Hybrids Ever Released: Tesco’s UK Shelves
There is a subtle revolution happening in the world of citrus fruit that peels easily, signalling the arrival of the best varieties in the UK. This ground-breaking innovation gives British consumers a delightful experience by introducing richer-tasting and aesthetically pleasing mandarin varieties at Tesco: Meiravit, Havva, Orit, and Sigal.
These innovative mandarin hybrids, a product of Tesco’s collaboration with its primary citrus supplier, AMT Fresh, in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, alongside Spanish growers, are poised to potentially replace clementines within the next decade. Satsuma production is already on the decline, making room for these superior mandarin hybrids.
Beyond their superior taste, these mandarin hybrids boast additional advantages:
- Vibrant Color: Exhibiting more vivid hues.
- Aromatic Profile: Offering a richer fragrance.
- Fewer Pips: Providing a more enjoyable eating experience.
- Reduced Greening: Less susceptible to early-season greening.
- Extended Shelf Life: Contributing to Reduced Waste.
Tesco and AMT Fresh started a long-term breeding program with the goal of improving the quality of mandarin hybrids, which has resulted in this transformation. The program stemmed from the stark preference difference between British and European consumers, where the former favors seedless satsumas over seeded clementines.
Tesco Citrus Fruit Technical Manager, James Cackett, sheds light on the evolution: “About 20 years ago, Spanish and Moroccan growers shifted their focus to clementines due to the European market’s preference. Recognizing the need for a seedless alternative in the UK, we embarked on a mandarin hybrid breeding program, now yielding fruits that perfectly cater to our customers.”
The popularity of these mandarin hybrids is burgeoning in the UK, with Tesco witnessing a twofold increase in sales compared to 2017. Bennie Smidt, Head of Agronomy at AMT Fresh, provides insights into the hybrid program, explaining that hybrids result from crossing various citrus varieties, including mandarins, clementines, satsumas, oranges, or even grapefruit.
He adds, “With the latest varieties of mandarin hybrids, we are witnessing the arrival of the best quality easy-peelers in the UK—enhanced taste, deeper color, heightened fragrance, and easier peeling.”
The clementine gained prominence due to increased availability in Spain and Morocco when satsuma production dwindled two decades ago. With annual advancements in mandarin varieties and their growing popularity among UK consumers, there is a foreseeable future where the reliance on imported clementines may diminish within the next decade.