As South Africa’s table grape export season winds down, that industry celebrated a successful promotion for the Chinese market on March 24. This is the third season for South African grapes to promote in China.
The South African Table Grape Industry (SATI) reports in a March 28 press release, that 2022-23 China Market Development Campaign launch was held at Guangzhou’s Jiangnonghui wholesale fruit market. Joining hands at the event were representatives of the South African Embassy in China, South Africa’s Western Cape Government, and leading Chinese fresh fruit importer Goodfarmer.
Along with China’s unprecedented period of growth and economic development, consumers increasingly expect to be able to purchase high-quality and nutritious fresh fruit throughout the year, SATI reports. Table grapes have long been a favorite fruit in China and consumers are eager to sample new varieties in novel shapes and colors that are sweeter and crisper than ever before.
South Africa is among diverse counter-seasonal Southern Hemisphere fruit producers to provide an important perishable product for consumption within a relatively short time window.
SATI says the South African table grape exporters cooperated to present a new China campaign focused to achieve shorter transit times and a narrower arrival window with cultivars preferred by consumers in China. This was bolstered with concurrent promotional activities by table grape importers and retailers in China. These include the March 24 wholesale market event, media outreach, and retail events and promotions in multiple Chinese cities.
“We are thrilled to execute our China Campaign this season and continue building relationships with the fruit industry in China,” said SATI chief executive officer AJ Griesel. “The lifting of epidemic controls in China means we can once again hold in-person events with traders such as the launch event in Guangzhou. It also means the return of in-store promotions for consumers.”
“South Africa has footprints on table grapes in many countries around the world, including the EU, UK, USA and Canada,” said Molatelo Mamadi, agriculture counselor at the South African Embassy in Beijing, who spoke at the event in Guangzhou. “All these countries hold South African table grapes in the highest regard for their premium quality and compliance with export standards applicable to those markets. South Africa has been exporting table grapes to China for several years and is running this campaign for the third year in a row, with its table grapes currently enjoying status for their good quality and sweet taste.”
South Africa grape season winds down
SATI indicated March 28 that, to date, the 2022/2023 South African table grape season industry had exported 61.3 million cartons (4.5 kg equivalent) or 275,850 metric tons of table grapes. By the end of the season, it is anticipated that South Africa will have exported approximately 63 million cartons (4.5 kg equivalent) or 283,500 metric tons of the fruit worldwide.
South African table grapes are grown on approximately 8,000 acres in five key growing regions across the country. The diversity of soils and climates enables South Africa to supply international markets with a wide array of the latest table grape varieties from November to May.
During the last two seasons, the most popular cultivars exported to China were Crimson Seedless, Autumn Crisp, Sweet Globe, and Sweet Joy. Many table grape varieties that are growing in popularity in China are also seeing increasing production in South Africa, which sets the stage for further growth of South African table grapes in the China market during the years to come.
SATI will host industry delegates from around the world at the 10th International Table Grape Symposium, which runs 26 Nov. 26 to Dec. 1, 2023.