Seeded fruit mostly shipped overseas to feed niche markets - The Packer

Seeded fruit mostly shipped overseas to feed niche markets

04/18/2014 12:38:00 PM
Melissa Shipman

The vast majority of grapes from Mexico are for the U.S., according to grower-shippers.

In fact, the Mexican deal pretty much exactly fits the needs of the North American market said Lance Jungmeyer, president of the Nogales, Ariz.-based Fresh Produce Association of the Americas.

“The Mexican harvest is typically around 16 million to 18 million cartons, and that’s just about the right amount for the North American market,” Jungmeyer said.

A small number of those cartons do go to Canada, but most end up in the U.S. An even smaller number of the total
Mexican deal goes to Asian and European locations, depending on the market.

“Whatever growers can send elsewhere is based on market demand. If there’s a good price in Europe, for example, they might send more there,” Jungmeyer said.

However, some Mexican grapes are shipped overseas. The majority of that exported volume is seeded, said Louie
Galvan, managing partner with Fruit Royale Inc., Delano, Calif.

“For seeded grapes, the interest primarily remains overseas,” he said, mentioning that despite a growing interest in seeded varieties in the U.S., it’s a small percentage of the domestic market.

“About 99% of the U.S. market is seedless. And 90% of the seeded grapes go overseas, mostly to (Asian) countries,” Galvan said.

Others agree the seeded market is heavily skewed to other countries.

“The red globe seeded variety is normally shipped to Pacific Rim and Latin American countries,” said Jared Lane, vice president of marketing for Bakersfield, Calif.-based Stevco Inc.

However, Lane said consumption isn’t very higvh compared to other varieties.

Atomic Torosian, managing partner, Crown Jewels Produce, Fresno, Calif., said the red globe has enjoyed a niche market for the past few years.

“There’s a niche for seeded grapes. The size and taste sells that grape. It obviously has seeds, but certain people like that,” he said.

Still, even in export markets, seeded grapes could slowly be phased out.

“There is an international market for seeded grapes such as red globes, and a preference in some pockets of the country. However, seedless grapes are the primary preference domestically and are gaining favorability in markets that have historically wanted seeded grapes such as Asia,” said Natalie Erlendson, marketing manager for Sun World International LLC, Bakersfield, Calif.



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