The demand for table grapes is growing year by year globally. However, demand is growing only for high-quality table grapes, for which consumers are willing to pay more. This idea was expressed by the economist of the Investment Centre of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Andriy Yarmak during a virtual training on the effective organization of promotion and packaging of fruit and vegetable products for exports. The event was organized by the USAID Competitiveness, Trade and Jobs Activity (CTJ) Project. Information and expert support was provided by the East-Fruit.com.
As Andriy Yarmak noted, there is currently no demand for non-premium fruit in the EU countries. This is especially true for countries from the so-called EU-15 bloc.
“It is also important to know that consumers appreciate the convenience of consumption. With regard to grapes, this means seedless varieties with large grapes,” the expert emphasized.
In addition, consumers are increasingly paying attention to the environmental friendliness of the product and its packaging, as well as to the sustainability of the production and sales system.
It is also important that today’s consumers of the so-called generations Y and Z have completely different values in consumption – it will be extremely difficult to sell non-organic products in non-ecological packaging to them. They will make mainly online-purchases, and not with the keyboard or application, but through a voice assistant, such as Amazon Alexa,” Andriy Yarmak explained.
At the same time, expert highlighted that organic is the fastest growing segment of table grapes. However, producing them is more difficult, as it requires high-tech production. In addition, preservation of such table grapes is also much more difficult comparted to a product cultivated in a conventional way. Moreover, growing organic grapes in Central Asia for fresh export to other regions may not be the best option, as in this case, grapes must be transported for thousands of kilometers, which results in environmental pollution. This contradicts with the philosophy of organic business. However, the cultivation of organic grapes for the production of organic raisins (dried grapes) in Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and other countries of the region, can be a great idea.
In general, seedless varieties are in the greatest demand on the global market for fresh table grapes. For instance, Scarlet Royal is the leader in terms of production volume in the US market, with annual sales growth of 80%. The second and third most popular varieties are Autumn King and Flame Seedless, respectively.
“These three varieties account for 60% of the total production in the United States. Varieties change quickly – a vineyard in the United States is not used long due to changes in demand and consumer preferences, although it could be exploited for many more years. However, producers prefer to remove a productive variety if they notice that the demand for it is starting to decline and replace it with the one that is in trend and preferred by consumers,” Andriy Yarmak explained.
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