Karen Brux Dishes on Fruits From Chile's Table Grape Season
- by Jordan Okumura
CHILE - I thank my lucky stars, as both a member of the trade and a consumer, that year-round retail table grape programs are in abundance for the health of the bottom line and the belly. As North America has moved offshore for much of its table grape supplies, Karen Brux, Managing Director, Chilean Fresh Fruit Association a.k.a Fruits From Chile, joins me to talk about the category and what we can expect in the weeks ahead.
“North America is by far the largest export market for Chilean grapes. Chile has shipped 84,135 tons of grapes—73 percent of season to date shipments of Chilean grapes—to North America, with a total of 115,427 tons exported worldwide this season,” Karen tells me. “Export estimate for 2019/20 is 642,161 tons, so we still have a long way to go. We’re already promoting, and marketing programs will continue through April.”
Karen adds that the industry is working harder than ever to supply what the market wants.
“That means volumes of varieties like Flame Seedless continue to fall—66 percent decrease between 2017/18 and 2018/19—with volumes of varieties like Sweet Celebration, Allison, Timco, and Jack Salute continuing to rise—just to name a few. There’s been a huge focus on varietal development in Chile to meet the demands of the North American market,” she adds.
The table grape industry has truly elevated its game in terms of flavor and reading the room for what today’s consumer is looking for.
“There are so many new, delicious varieties of grapes, and there are huge opportunities for retailers to communicate more about the unique attributes of specific varieties at the store level,” Karen expresses. “Most consumers who I talk to still identify grapes as green, red, or black, and don’t have any idea of the choices they have when it comes to flavor. Shoppers buy multiple varieties of apples based on different flavor profiles, so there’s no reason why they shouldn’t pick up a few varieties of grapes at their local supermarket.”
To help retailers get the most out of the Chilean table grape season, the association is offering more in-store signage that can help drive sales. There are also great opportunities to educate shoppers on retail social media channels, like Facebook and Instagram.
“We’re working with numerous chains on demos, which are still an incredibly effective way to introduce shoppers to the great taste of Chilean grapes. It’s a convenient, healthy snack, so if people try it and like it, they’ll most likely buy it!” Karen reveals.
Due to the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association promoting in the winter and spring months, the team has developed a number of “season-appropriate” usage ideas for consumers and retailers to tap into, like roasted cauliflower with Chilean grapes and plum salad with brown rice, chicken, pecans, and mixed herbs.
Keep checking back with AndNowUKnow as we look to the Chilean season, new opportunities, and continued growth throughout our industry.