As the California grape season comes to an end, the market is starting its transition from domestic to imported fruit. One of the key destinations from which the grapes arrive is Peru, and the season is off to a great start. Manual Yzaga, CEO of Vanguard International Peru, says: “Overall this season’s grape production in Peru is estimated to increase by 15 percent. This is a very manageable number to market this crop in an orderly fashion as the season started three weeks earlier than it did last season and so far, it has allowed for a very smooth transition.”
Great growing conditions this season
Vanguard Peru has been growing steadily and every year the focus lies on further improvement. The company’s Total Quality Management team measures and tracks improvements of each of the processes in the supply chain, from the ranches to the packing houses. Yzaga says: “We are delighted with the quality and condition of our fruit from all of our ranches and packing houses. We work with our own ranches and packing house so we can control every aspect of our process.”
“Quality begins on the farm,” he added. “Mother Nature has been a great partner this year, and as a result, quality and condition look outstanding this year. As we begin our harvest and packing, we are very pleased with the quality we are seeing.”
Expansion of new varieties
The demand in North America is geared towards new specialty varieties, and the growing and import patterns have been reflecting this. “New varieties have been increasing on the import side into North America for the last few years,” Yzaga said. “In many respects, the new varieties coming out of Latin American are a mirror of what has been planted in California. This way, there is a nice complement between the production in the Northern and Southern hemispheres.”
Vanguard works with red, green, black, and niche varieties. “We look at a number of factors to determine varietal selection,” Yzaga explained. “Quality and eating experience are very important, of course, but we also have to be mindful of the growing windows of the varieties, so that they can support our strategy of supplying from Peru from December through late April.”
Some of the company’s key grape varieties are Sweet Celebration™, Jack’s Salute™, and Allison™ for the red seedless; Sweet Globe™, Ivory™, and AUTUMN CRISP® for the green seedless; Sweet Sapphire™, Sweet Favors™, ADORA®, MIDNIGHT BEAUTY® for the black seedless; and for the niche varieties the company will have Candy Snaps™ in the 2020/21 season.
Global presence and expanding demand
Through the multiple branches of the company, such as Vanguard Direct in North America, and Vanguard International in other markets, the company is able to have a solid presence throughout the globe. “At Vanguard Peru, we market and distribute our grapes to our customers in North America, Asia, the Middle East, and Europe.”
“We are super excited to see demand for Vanguard Peru’s premium seedless grapes increasing to ‘non-traditional’ markets every year. This speaks volumes about our unique varieties, quality, flavor, and eye appeal. Delivering on our promise of high quality, we have opened the door to many new markets. We don’t see this as much as a ‘shift,’ but rather as an expansion of demand,” Yzaga concluded.
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