Drastic evolution of table grape industry to be addressed at Global Grape Summit

White Chilean grapes on vine

The global table grape industry has undergone some of the most significant changes of any fruit commodity over recent years, and the worldwide panorama continues to evolve at a breathtaking pace.

Hand-in-hand with a 17% rise in total exports over the past five years, new production regions and new varieties have dramatically modified the traditional market windows enjoyed by many of the world’s top suppliers, and are likely to continue to change them even in the future.

Understanding these changes and knowing what to expect in the coming years is vital for all players in the table grape industry in order to make the most strategic business decisions.

For this reason, Manuel José Alcaíno, president of Chile-based market research company Decofrut, will kick off the Global Grape Summit in London on June 5 with a presentation entitled “The Global Table Grape Panorama.”

The inaugural event, which will be held in conjunction with the London Produce Show and Conference, will bring together leading actors from the global table grape supply chain for a forward-thinking day of insightful educational sessions and networking.

We caught up with Alcaíno to hear more about what attendees could expect to hear from his wide-ranging talk in one of the world’s top grape markets.

“I’m going to talk about the positions of the main markets and the most important suppliers from the Northern Hemisphere and Southern Hemisphere,” he said.

He elaborated that new elements in both regions that have recently begun to play an increasingly instrumental role – “elements such as new varieties that have longer seasons, that are harvested later … and which enter into the other hemisphere during the local season”.

There is therefore less and less space between the various marketing windows of differing production countries, or – as is increasingly the case nowadays – a clear overlap in supplies from numerous different countries that was not there before.

“The table grape industry over the last three or four years has been affected by various changes, and it’s important to understand them and be able to forecast them in order to know what’s going on, to chose the best markets and to chose the dates in which to produce,” he said.

He added that, by understanding these changes, companies in the industry can “get in the best position with the best marketing windows in the best markets and supply the best varieties when they are in high demand.”

Peru’s position in the global table grape industry will also be addressed. Alcaíno said the country has become an increasingly important actor “due to its volumes and due to its potential to produce early in the Southern Hemisphere season”. In fact, the South American country became the world’s third-largest exporter by value last year, displacing Italy and China.

“There are lots of countries that are entering into the business,” he said, adding that India is another country that has increased its international presence significantly over recent years that will be addressed in his presentation.

Alcaíno will also analyze the position of countries that are more established in the industry but that have managed to extend their seasons. A prominent example is Mexico – a key supplier to the U.S. market in the transition between the Chilean and California seasons. He said that the industry in Mexico is “trialing production in new sectors to arrive earlier.”

“The most valuable thing for these countries that are overlapping is the analysis of those windows, which are highly influenced nowadays by the varieties that are being planted,” he said.

This overlap also reduces the price peaks the produce industry traditionally sees, often resulting in more balanced market conditions due to the more stable supply, he said.

Speaking about the Global Grape Summit, Alcaíno stated that it is a unique event that will allow actors from the Northern and Southern Hemisphere to meet, start a dialogue, and analyze the best ways to progress.

“I think that that is the great virtue of the event – getting the players of this industry together…and I think that it is an excellent idea,” he said.

Don’t miss the Global Grape Summit on June 5 in Grosvenor House, Park Lane, London. For tickets, sponsorship opportunities or any other information, click here.

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