With sizing trending smaller than usual this season on some South African fruit, it is shaping up to be a perfect year for bagged promotions in the U.S., importers said.

Two- and 3-pounders remain the most popular bagged packaging option for South African citrus marketed by Seald Sweet, said Kim Flores, marketing manager for Seald Sweet International Inc., Vero Beach, Fla.

That said, more retailers have been asking for 4-pounders.

“It’s interesting — 4-pound bags are traditionally a common size for domestic citrus but not typically for imported citrus,” Flores said.

Another recent trend in South African clementine packaging has shown up mainly at the club store level for Seald Sweet.

“Over the past few years, clubs stores have been switching to 5-pound packs versus the 5-pound carton,” she said.

Three- and 5-pounders are the most common packaging options for Seald Sweet for South African navels and midknights, Flores said.

Bags continue to be a more popular option for marketers of South African citrus, said Tom Cowan, South African sales manager for Fort Pierce, Fla.-based DNE World Fruit Sales.

“The trend toward retailers using more bagged product for summer citrus is the biggest trend,” Cowan said.

That includes more clementines in 2- and 3-pound bags instead of the traditional 5-pound box, he said. Also, more retailers are displaying navels and midknights in 3- and 5-pound bags.

The reasons for the switch are clear, Cowan said.

“The addition of the bags allows retailers to get bigger sales rings at the register, and the improved graphics on the bags in recent years also helps grab more impulse sales.”

The packaging options for South African citrus shipped by Montreal-based Fisher Capespan should be similar to past years, said Marc Solomon, senior vice president for South African procurement.

“Oranges are sold in bulk or bagged and almost all clementines are bagged,” he said. “No changes.”

Gerrit van der Merwe, chairman of the Citrusdal, South Africa-based Western Cape Citrus Producers Forum, said a slightly smaller size profile this season sets up well for aggressive bagged promotions.

“The fruit sizes will yield nicely for bagging this year, and consumers will appreciate the convenience of being able to buy it that way,” he said.

A “brilliantly vibrant” logo on bags will help catch North American consumers’ minds this season, van der Merwe predicted.