South African growers drive UK campaign to debunk myths on raisins

South African raisins rebound, ready for major promotional campaign in UK

Produce Business edited news release

South African raisin producers have bounced back in 2024, achieving a total crop size of 95,000 tonnes with outstanding quality, following several challenging years for the industry. 

A combination of adverse weather conditions, global economic uncertainty and increased input costs has put pressure on suppliers, resulting in a reduced crop of 60,231 tonnes in 2023. 

The crop this year has provided some of the best quality and widest variety of raisins yet seen after South Africa’s vineyards enjoyed optimal climate patterns in recent months, with well-distributed rainfall and ample sunlight providing ideal conditions for grape cultivation. A crop of 100,000 tonnes is set to become the norm for this quality orientated origin. 

“Customers can look forward to excellent-quality South African raisins this year,” said Ferdie Botha, CEO of Raisins SA. “They are bursting with flavour and natural goodness, and as they are packed full of nutrients such as fibre, iron, calcium and antioxidants, they are perfect for New Year health diets. We are excited to work closely with customers and bring new consumers into the category.”

Industry body Raisins SA is gearing up for a wide-ranging PR campaign in the UK over the coming months. In 2023, the focus was on trade relations, including advertising in business publications, as well as high-level meetings with retailers. This was backed by Facebook and Instagram messaging spotlighting South African raisins’ key selling points, and industry updates on LinkedIn. 

For 2024, there will be an equal focus on both trade and consumer audiences. Activity will include a trip for key buyers and trade journalists to the Orange River region, a retailer road-show in the UK, continued trade media placings in the UK and Germany, and further social media activity targeted at shoppers. 

The goal of the activity will be to showcase the world-class agronomy of South African raisin production, with the hot and dry climate of the Orange River allowing the majority of product to be naturally sundried. With lower pest and disease pressure reducing the need for chemical control, buyers and consumers can be reassured that the raisins contain little to no residues. 

More than 700 growers are committed to responsible business practices spanning human rights, environmental protection, social responsibility and product traceability. 

“We firmly believe that the future prospects for the dried fruit (raisins) category holds significant growth opportunities, especially from a healthy snacking perspective,” Botha said. “The wide application of raisins, being naturally preserved make them the ideal ingredient for healthy convenient product types.”



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