“As table grape production has grown, so too has the market share of UVASYS"
Global grape production is fast increasing with all the major producing countries planting more each season as well as switching to higher yielding varieties to feed demand from traditional and emerging markets.
Many of these markets are far away from the producing countries, some grapes spend weeks on the water before they reach their final destination, but on arrival they still have to be as fresh as the day they were harvested. This is a challenge for any fruit but particularly for table grapes which are susceptible to fungal infection even when stored in a cool room at the optimal temperature of -0.5 degrees Celsius. The most prevalent pathogen of stored table grapes is commonly referred to as “Botrytis or grey mould”, which is caused by Botrytis cinerea.
Tessara Pty Ltd is one company that has been helping growers and exporters get their table grapes to the market as fresh as the day they were harvested for over 20 years. Tessara Pty Ltd manufacture UVASYS, which is known worldwide as the pioneer laminated plastic sulphur dioxide generating sheet. UVASYS was developed and is manufactured in South Africa and exported to all markets globally.
“We started selling UVASYS in Australia 17 years ago,” explained Gill Ambler from the Australian office. “As the table grape production has grown over the years, so too has the market share of UVASYS. We continue to grow in Australia, as the export volumes of table grapes increase and the production volume. One of the rapidly growing markets for Tessara is China, having the largest production of table grapes, which is great."
Amongst the biggest UVASYS markets are South Africa, China, US, Australia, Peru and Egypt.
“In Australia we have Asia on our doorstep which is where over 80% of our table grapes exports are headed. Table grapes are mainly packed in 9 - 10kg boxes either loose or in bunch bags. Many exporters are now asking for the table grapes to be packed with the stems up, as this improves presentation in the box. The stem is like a natural handle for the grape, the berries then aren’t touched too much during packing allowing them to maintain their bloom. They are packed maintaining their quality, with the UVASYS sheet placed on top of the table grapes. An advantage of UVASYS is that it keeps the stems greener for longer which is what buyers like to see”
"What makes UVASYS unique from its competitors is its design and construction. The product is made with two thin plastic films that are laminated together with the active ingredient in a wax matrix, creating a water resistant design, and it is recyclable. During transportation you may get unexpected breaks in the cold chain or temperature fluctuations which causes condensation inside the box, but because UVASYS is manufactured and constructed with those materials, the product keeps on emitting a consistent and reliable emission rate of sulphur dioxide that protects the fruit from decay and maintains the stems colour for longer. Some other products on the market are made from a paper/plastic mix and some with just paper, which become too wet from excessive condensation, with no control as to how much gas is being released, resulting in bleaching of your fruit," said Gill.
"We are fortunate that we have been here in Australia for over 17 years, and over the time UVASYS has been used it has been proven to be effective and we are trusted by growers and exporters, they realise that if you use a quality product, and that is what UVASYS is, you will get your rewards."
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Publication date: 10/6/2017
Author: Nichola McGregor
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