Arrivals of Peruvian grapes into the US are coming slowly, with many importers holding off on them until the substantial amount of California fruit starts to clear. There have been a few arrivals already, but more fruit is not expected until later in November.
"There have been some early arrivals of proprietary green seedless from the northern regions of Peru," noted Ira Greenstein of Direct Source Marketing. "Shortly we will see more fruit, this time from Ica and comprising of seedless Flames and Crimsons, arriving in the US during the last week of November and the first week of December."
Peruvian fruit being directed elsewhere
The amount of California grapes still in the market is said to be at historically high levels, and although movement is excellent, the market is very weak. "According to the most recent California Storage Report, there is a 40 percent increase in the amount of California grapes in the market compared with this time last year," Greenstein explained. "We predict that historically high volumes will continue through the middle of December. Prices are not good, despite California recording record high shipments, with some weeks exceeding a rate of 5 million boxes per week. We should continue to see heavy promotions until at least mid-December."
Greenstein: "These are proprietary Arra 15 green seedless from our largest grower in northern Peru. This fruit will arrive to the US by December 15th.
These are not very favorable conditions for Peruvian or any other offshore grape exporter to land in. Therefore, Peruvian growers and exporters have been alerted and encouraged to find better market for themselves elsewhere, hence why Greenstein said that Europe will see an increase in Peruvian grape imports this season.
"As marketers, we sounded the warning to South American grape growers to send their fruit elsewhere and they heeded that, with growers in the northern Piura region directing close to 75 percent of their crop to European markets," he shared. "Overall volumes of Peruvian grapes into the US should not be unmanageable as many growers did make that effort and sent grapes to Europe. As it stands right now, most US retailers have not looked at Peruvian fruit, so most of what has arrived is going to wholesale. Looking ahead, there is an increase in overall volumes from Peru this year, and they are aiming to have steady promotable volume from about mid-January through April."
Greater volumes of proprietary varieties coming
Along with the steadily increasing amount of grapes grown in Peru, there has also been a push to expand the amount of proprietary grapes. It appears that Peru has the intention of cementing its place as a key source of table grapes, with the goal of expanded volumes and timeframes of grape availability, particularly of the new varieties.
"As an industry, we will see an increase in the amount of proprietary varieties in Peru," Greenstein shared. "There has been a direction towards new plantings of proprietary grapes. These typically take between one to three years to mature, which has passed. So we should see not only more sustainable volume, but also an expanded season with many growers feeling they will extend the availability of those proprietary varieties into March."