Sun World International, Bakersfield, Calif., has grown its grape exports significantly in the past several years, which the company attributes to a strong brand presence and strong partnerships in export markets.
Sun World’s grape exports have risen 40% year-over-year in the past three seasons, according to a news release. The company is shipping record volumes this season, a trend experienced throughout the California grape industry with export and domestic accounts.
In particular, support from export partners in Japan, Indonesia, Vietnam, Hong Kong and Korea has lifted sales, with more brand recognition through in-store demos, sampling and social media promotions.
With a larger volume of grapes left in storage this season, California shippers are expected to ship product through the end of January, extending the season beyond its usual year-end exit.
“Despite a difficult grape season, we continue to achieve our strategic export goals,” Julie Escobar, Sun World vice president of international sales and marketing, said in the release. “Our partnerships with receivers and new customers have helped us achieve record shipping numbers, and retail penetration continues to be strengthened.”
Investment in packing line equipment allows the company to expand packaging options to drive sales in Asian markets, and bypass repacking in export countries, according to the news release. Sun World also plans to hire more personnel in Asian markets due to the growth in sales.
“We expect to see a significant increase in our business, as well as improve our overall supply chain and quality control of our fruit to a much stronger level in 2019,” Escobar said in the release.