Vero Beach, FL- based IMG Citrus is reintroducing an old friend to the produce aisle in U.S. markets — white grapefruit. While growing the heirloom grapefruit is unique to the Sunshine State and exported directly to Japan where it remains popular with consumers, the local grower/shipper operation sees renewed opportunity close to home.
Over the course of the past 30 to 40 years, growers have mostly replanted with the more widely-known red variety. However, with IMG Citrus’ recent acquisition of Emerald Grove in St. Lucie County (renamed the “Happy Food Grove” after their consumer brand), IMG Citrus is now one of the largest growers and suppliers of Florida grapefruit, producing approximately half of all white grapefruit in the state.
According to company officials, IMG Citrus also is planning to release the heirloom grapefruit as a specialty item to consumers in European destinations such as the Netherlands, Belgium, and France in the future.
“When white and red grapefruit are displayed next to each other, they complement each other nicely. This type of display is very common with Japanese retailers,” says Michel Sallin, IMG Citrus President. “IMG Citrus is excited to bring white grapefruit back to the U.S. market, providing consumers with more grapefruit variety.”