Saturday, 13 January 2018 | MYT 12:00 AM
Never too early for oranges
WHILE most people were busy shopping for Christmas presents last month, fans of mandarin oranges were already stocking up on the citrus fruit in the early days of December.
Wendy Chang of Green Century Fruits in Ipoh said her first shipment of mandarin oranges arrived from China during the first week of December.
“Since then, we’ve been selling 180 boxes of 4kg and 8kg mandarin oranges a week,” said the fruits wholesaler.
According to Chang, those who purchase mandarin oranges early on usually did so for their own consumption as well as for conducting prayers such as during the Winter Solstice celebration.
“People usually wait until much later to buy them for gifting purposes,” she added.
Chang does not foresee any shortage or oversupply of mandarin oranges during the Lunar New Year since there were no major calamities or weather changes in China over the past few months.
“At present, the prices of mandarin oranges are a few ringgit higher compared to last year, but this is because wholesalers are taking in minimal amounts of mandarin oranges.
“I should think the price will normalise once supply increases by the middle of January,” she said.
The Store Group northern region 2 assistant manager Yap Choon Meng said they have brought in 1,000 cartons of mandarin oranges to be sold at their Ipoh branch on Jalan Raja Permaisuri Bainun in the middle of December.
“It’s normal practice for us to import a small number of cartons slightly earlier before the festive season because we want to evaluate the market’s demands.
“Even though it is early, there are still people who love eating mandarin oranges so much that they start buying first to whet their appetite,” he said.
Yap said the response has been encouraging so far as most of the cartons were snapped up over two to three weeks.
“I think there are also those who buy them to celebrate Winter Solstice and even Christmas.
“It is also not uncommon to see many non-Chinese consumers coming over to buy them because they seem to enjoy the taste of mandarin oranges very much,” he said.
Yap said consumers can expect more mandarin oranges to be on sale starting mid-January onwards as the Chinese community will have to start making preparations for the new year by then.
In terms of prices, he said they are 10% higher per carton so far compared with last year, due to currency fluctuations.
“We are also looking at a strong possibility that prices will be going up in January as well, but we hope that there will be more supply coming in from China to cushion the impact,” he said.
A big fan of mandarin oranges, housewife April Ong is one of those who would buy the fruit the moment it is in sight.
“I dislike oranges, but I absolutely love mandarin oranges. I’d be eating them from year end until after Chinese New Year.
“I’m not too bothered about people saying it’s unhealthy when consumed in large quantities because it’s not like every day that I get to eat them,” she said.