New Grape Varieties: Good For Business

Posted on August 11th, 2014

New table grape varieties

California is on the leading edge of proprietary grape variety development.  Both growers and plant breeders are looking for new varieties to offer retailers and their customers.  The benefits to the industry are many.  We took a closer look at these benefits and outlined the points we believe are the most important to watch as this trend develops.

Benefits to the grower

New varieties are being developed to harvest earlier and extend the season particularly on the front end. An extended growing season would put fresher product out to market instead of fruit that was harvested months before and kept in storage. In addition, some of the positive characteristics of new varieties are in the roots improving water usage and disease resistances which are becoming major focuses for both the wine and table grape industries.

Benefits to the retailer

Retailers have new varieties to market to a consumer who is eager for a broader selection.

“Retailers recognize how important the produce department is when it comes to the consumer’s decision on where to shop. They are looking for ways to bring differentiation and improved quality to their department and the grape category,” states Natalie Erlendson, marketing manager for Sun World International LLC, Bakersfield, Calif.

“We recommend that retailers look to proprietary varieties as a way to differentiate themselves, and that they actually market the unique characteristics of these varieties to the consumer.”

Growers are taking extra steps to help promote these new grapes providing grab-and-go bags and clamshells highlighting the new variety and in some cases offering point-of-sale material and merchandising bins.

Benefits to the consumer

Consumers can lose interest in a product that doesn’t offer much variety or innovative options.  Grapes are no exception.  Proprietary grape varieties differentiate themselves with characteristics like larger berry size, crunchy texture and higher sugar levels.  These characteristics appeal to the consumer for both taste and variety while keeping their interest in the product overall.

Some retailers in the industry are not ready to jump in saying they only want a new variety if it’s truly better.  It’s a great point and the consumer market will let us know what they think.  Until these new varieties are marketed and sold it’s only speculation.  But early indications are strong and growth volume for some is expected to increase as much as 25% improving availability.

Ready to try a proprietary grape variety?  Give us a call for specifics and availability.