Italy has an interesting type of citrus sinensis called ‘Blood Orange’. Blood orange is red in colour due to the anthocyanin pigment present (this is also a good anti-oxidant). The oil is unique because of the high carotenoid content and its sweet taste.
The three most common types of blood oranges are the Tarocco (native to Italy), the Sanguinello (native to Spain), and the Moro, the newest variety of the three.
The main use for the oil is in beverage markets for its naturally fresh and sweet taste and it has a natural colouring agent to add a redness to any drink. The Italian harvest season runs from February to early May. The typical oil yields are relatively small at around 2.5gm per kilo of fruit.
In Italy most oranges are consumed fresh. Blood varieties (Tarocco, Moro, and Sanguinello) are used primarily for fresh consumption. Late varieties (Ovale, and Valencia) are destined for both the processing and fresh markets. The volume of oranges channelled into processing depends on orange quality and the level of domestic and export consumption of oranges. In 2018/19 Italy is forecast to process approximately 267,000 MT of oranges and produce 18,690 MT of orange concentrate. In comparison to the other important citrus players, Italy’s blood orange crop was quite dismal. This pushed up the prices to overtake last year’s figures but there are no buyers. It is anticipated that, propelled by a decent demand from customers, the existing stock sells for a reasonable price.
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