A surprising mandarin variety developed in Japan and produced for the first time in Valencia just barged into stores in Britain and Germany this week. Banzzai™, an exceptional citrus fruit the size of an orange, a result of multiple crossings between a satsuma, an orange, a mandarin and a grapefruit. “It boasts a really unique flavor that combines the best of different citrus species,” says David Alba, CEO of Genesis Innovation Group, Valencian entity that is part of AM Fresh Group and manages this project.
This mandarin originated in the 70s in Japan and is now for the first time grown in the exclusive AM Fresh Group farms in the province of Valencia. The launch of Banzzai™ has occurred just this week in the UK at Marks & Spencer and in Germany at Edeka stores.
“After several years working on this project, the launch is a resounding success and has exceeded all expectations. Since Banzzai™ has reached stores this week, sales have been higher +90% than estimated in the UK, where several stores have sold all stocks in just two days and social media activity has been truly spectacular with more than 9,000 visits in 15 hours,” says David Alba.
The fruit has a distinctive bulge at the top that provides an ideal peel point to unlock the vibrant flavours within. According to the representative of Banzzai™, “it is one of the largest and sweetest mandarins on the planet and is easily recognized by its distinctive shape. It is exceptionally easy to peel, and the separation of the fruit segments is optimal, without losing a drop of enticing juice. In addition to its extraordinary taste, it contains high juice content, a total absence of seeds and a sumptuous texture ideal for all audiences. Additionally, its vitamin C content, minerals and fiber makes it an ideal snack for these winter months.”
Banzzai plantation at AM Fresh
“This Mandarins have adhered to the most sophisticated production, harvesting and packaging protocols, pampering each fruit from the tree to the shelf with utmost artisanal care. The fruit is ripened naturally on the tree and is not harvested until it exceeds the highest quality standards. The process of harvesting and preparation of the fruit Banzzai™ is meticulous and very different from that of other citrus, using machinery and technology specific to avoid any damage of the fruit’s delicate skin. The fruit must overcome dozens of quality controls and multiple analysis before reaching the consumer, the aim is that the sensorial and organoleptic experience is consistent, superior and unique,” says David Alba. “Although quite dependent on weather conditions, the sales calendar generally extends between January and March.”
Given its complex production process and marketing as well as the difficult context of the Valencian citrus season this year, Genesis Innovation Group has faced a real challenge to launch the Banzzai™ mandarins. “It was a difficult challenge and yet very exciting, it has required a major effort by a great professional team. This campaign has experienced a significant decline in citrus production in Valencia, which has suffered the passage of several strong storms. It has been an adventure from the start of production until the harvesting and custom packaging designed for this fruit. And most importantly we have managed to present Banzzai™ to the public at its peak moment”.
Banzzai tasting at Edeka store
“In terms of marketing and promotion, we have designed a very attractive brand, we have given Banzzai™ great prominence on social media platforms and have activated in-store visibility campaigns with bespoke retailer packaging of Banzzai™ across hundreds of supermarket stores in the UK and Germany. It was imperative to provide in-store tastings and drive trial of Banzzai™ among thousands of consumers who have enjoyed its deliciously iconic taste and the positive response has been absolutely phenomenal,” says Patricia Sagarminaga, Marketing Manager at AM Fresh Group. “Our goal is to offer a sense of discovery of premium citrus to adventurous consumers and create a point of differentiation through bespoke packaging and activations.”
Genesis Innovation Group is a leading company based in Valencia of protected varietal innovation, especially citrus. “We have decades of experience working with prestigious international breeders and varietal improvement programs in addition to large distribution chains and retailers in UK, Europe, US and Asia. Our DNA is constant innovation to develop new products and varieties that differentiate our offer, attract consumers and generate incremental sales. Above all, we strive to contribute to the development of such an important part of the Valencian economy as is the citrus industry,” concludes the Director General of this organization.
Banzzai citrus fruit breaks into the markets