The future of the pomelo through rose-tinted glasses

Yexpert Stories: Product Manager Xian

The pomelo season has started again! Therefore this time in the Yexpert Stories: Xian Huang, our pomelo specialist. Xian tells us more about pomelos and the coming season. Read more in the blog!

With some exotics you instantly know that they will be a real hit in the Yex range. And with others you know in advance that they are a fantastic product to add to the range, but may need a little more explanation. But there is one product that is both: the pomelo. With our customers in Germany, for example, that rather large citrus fruit is in high demand. In the Netherlands people are less familiar with the pomelo. What is the reason for that?

I must add: I’m not completely objective when it comes to pomelos. They usually come from the country where I come from, China. I know how irresistible a ripe, juicy pomelo can be. If you do not know the fruit, like most consumers in the Netherlands, you will sooner mistake it for a strange, rather large grapefruit. It is not a coincidence that its Latin name is ‘Citrus maxima’. (For that reason alone, people in this country should love it!).

Maybe that’s where things go wrong: the grapefruit has that bitterness that the consumer often isn’t too keen on, but the pomelo is much sweeter. That’s why it is one of the most important products for Yex. Maybe not yet in the Netherlands, but certainly in the countries where the pomelo is shipped in large numbers: Germany, Scandinavia, France, Austria and the Czech Republic, for example. It is also telling that the pomelo volume in Europe has increased about eight times in ten years..

I am very proud to have been able to contribute a little to that growth. Ten years ago I started translating documents into and from Chinese at Best Fresh. I never imagined that I would again be responsible for purchasing pomelos, along with nashi pears, ginger and garlic. During that time I discovered that the pomelo is not only a serious product in China, but also in Western Europe. I visit our growers twice, sometimes three times a year, although unfortunately that is almost impossible at the moment. We see them much more as a partner than as a supplier and we want to help all of Europe enjoy this delicious fruit.

Cultivation companies have grown and become highly professionalised. Working according to the Global-GAP regulations is standard. Growers know exactly what is allowed in the field of crop protection. And what is not allowed in terms of social circumstances, such as child labour. And by getting the pomelo exclusively from China, in the right season, we avoid disappointing consumers. They may have had negative experiences with a pomelo from another country. Or by eating one at a time when they are not so tasty. That is why we are strict: do not import before September, stop selling at the end of February..

That season has started again. I have high hopes for it. Not just because the taste seems to be delicious again. Also because the pink variety is on the rise. That one is even sweeter than other varieties. Delicious to eat as it comes. (By the way, we share these consumer tips on our website Let’s see whether that ‘weird grapefruit’ can compete with the orange and mandarin in the Netherlands. Once consumers have tasted the pomelo, I’m sure they will be sold …

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