Photos courtesy of Hortgro
The South African raisin industry is focusing on targeting UK trade through a new promotional campaign, after conducting a study of the UK dried fruit market.
The research, carried out by Promar International, emphasised the opportunity for ‘Raisins South Africa’ - a non-profit company who represent 1,000 farms in the Northern and Western Cape - to communicate their many USP’s to key industry players in the UK.
The UK is the largest import market in the world for dried fruit, with around 106,000 tonnes being imported annually. South Africa has a modest share of this with exports to the UK of just 4,000 tonnes.
"The UK is a traditional market for South African fresh produce and we believe that our current market share is significantly less than it should be," Ferdie Botha, CEO of ‘Raisins South Africa’, said. "Along with keeping the market updated with industry developments, we will also work to emphasise the benefits of our exceptionally high quality raisins.”
The industry celebrated 100 years since the first crop was produced in the Orange River region, where over 90% of all South African raisins are grown. This area experiences exceptional levels of sunshine, on average 10.5 hours every day between January and March, which is when the fruit is harvested and naturally sundried. The hot, dry, sunny climate, along with the ample supply of water from the river, makes ideal growing conditions to produce the highest quality raisins.
The naturally sun dried grapes are available in many varieties, including Thompson, Flame and the Jumbo Golden. South Africa is the only country in the world to commercially produce Jumbo Golden raisins.
‘Raisins South Africa’ is committed to increasing sales in the UK and hopes the integrated marketing and PR campaign will be the catalyst to achieve this. 2020 activities will concentrate on up market retailers and the confectionary, convenience and snacking sectors. They include trade PR, online and print advertising, a trade trip to the Orange River production area in early March, and a video brochure delivery to key industry players and the trade media.
- Raisins South Africa is the mouthpiece of a new and transformed industry, in collaboration with government and other relevant stakeholders. They play a vital role in advancing growers interests.
- South African raisins are produced in the Orange and Olifants river regions, which is in the Northern and Western Cape respectively. The Northern Cape Province accounts for at least 90 percent of the total annual production. The Western Cape accounts for the remaining 10 percent.
- The three main varieties are Thompsons, Goldens, and Flames, but other varieties include Western Province and Orange River.
- There are seven processors of South African raisins: the big four represent 85% of the total industry, two mid-size packers (14%) and one small but very focussed supplier (1%)
- There are 700 growers of South African raisins, working over 1,000 farms
Average temperatures during harvesting/drying period are very warm and dry, ranging from 33 – 38
- South Africa are forecasted to increase raisin exports by 8% to 64,600 MT in the 2019/20 marketing year, from 59,000 MT in the 2018/19, based on the increase in production and improved global demand.